Save those absences for when you are truly puking

You’ve probably had a chance to look over your syllabi by now, and it has become painfully clear that most of your professors have attendance policies.  One or two might not, but don’t celebrate yet/

Even those rare, lenient professors who leave it up to students to choose whether to attend class will use class time to prepare for exams – and college is expensive.  Why pay to retake a class?  Most commonly, professors will allow two or three absences.  Here’s a piece of advice that I picked up as a freshman: don’t use them all up.  You’re going to want a rainy day fund.

 Save your get-out-of-jail-free cards for true emergencies.  They happen.  You’re in Bowling Green now.  You could be seriously injured by the wind.  No one wants to plan for emergencies, but save up those free days just in case.  If your sociology instructor allows you three absences and you run out and skip your entire third week, what happens eight weeks later, when you’re legitimately ill?  By the way, dorm life is a little germy, so definitely plan to be sick once and awhile. 

True statement: A lot of people don’t wash their hands when they use the communal bathrooms in the dorms.  Whatever virus your neighbor catches is going to spread its way around the floor and then hit the rest of the building. 

In November, one of the RAs on my floor left a message on the board in the bathroom to warn us about a stomach flu that was going around. I was careful about what I touched, but it reached me anyway. I woke up around 5 a couple days later and got sick over just about everything on my half of the room.  Yeah, that’s a great picture, right?  My poor roommate tackled the room with a disinfectant as our sweet custodian, Jane, helped me run damage control.

I’m sure we can all remember what it’s like to have the stomach flu, so I’ll spare you those details.  I learned a useful lesson that day, though.  My father drove up from Columbus and brought me home, and I didn’t make it back to campus until the following Monday. 

I missed two full days of school, which would’ve been manageable if this were high school. College is another story.  Every class is important.  You’ll be amazed at how much material a professor can cover in 50 minutes.  I was horrified!  Fortunately, I hadn’t exhausted my absences in any of my classes.  My grades didn’t suffer, I got the notes from other students, and everything turned out fine. 

You probably won’t face any true, life-threatening emergencies this semester, but colds, flus, and random stomach viruses are more common than you’d think.  Trust me: you will be grateful that you saved up those sick days.

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