Not-so-common cold

This column comes to you from what is sure to be my death bed. For the last week, I have been infected with what I have decided to describe as the modern plague. And although unlike the plague, this cold is unlikely to literally kill you, it will be sure to kill your academic life for a few weeks while you catch up.

Although I only have what some may refer to as “the common cold,” nothing about this ailment is common for the average high school student. It’s amazing how you can go to every single day of school for months, and no one day seems to be filled with particularly vital information. But then, you get sick and miss a day, and all of a sudden there were two tests, a quiz, lessons on two sections of math (that both look like a foreign language), and an in-class activity that is impossible to make up.

When you find out all that you missed, you push yourself to go back to school the next day to avoid missing anything else and falling even more behind. However, going back early means you miss out on the rest you need to actually get better. So you find yourself in a constant cycle of skipping school to get rest and going back sick to avoid falling behind anymore. It’s impossible for you to catch up with the rest of the class and keep up with the new work being given at the same time for all of your classes, so at least one class has to slip (I’ve chosen Math Analysis, sorry Mrs. Altmire).

So who’s at fault for the ridiculous amount of curriculum crammed into each day? It’s easy to jump straight to placing the blame on the teachers, but does it really make sense that they want to have all of this work to grade everyday? Probably not. There’s simply a lot of information to cram into 135 hours of class time per subject per semester, but teachers would surely spread the workload out more if they had the time. There’s really no way around it: you’re going to have to make up at least 1 1/2 hours of classwork for each class missed, plus any homework, and regardless of how you look at it, it’s going to suck.

But, there is one amazing thing I’ve learned after 12 years of mandatory schooling: teachers are just like us. I know, it’s a shocking revelation, but as fellow humans, the majority of teachers will understand the immense workload students return to after being sick. Openly communicating with your teachers about why you missed class, when you can come in to make things up, and your progress on the make up work will create an environment where navigating your make up assignments is immensely easier, and before you know it, you’ll be caught up.

In the grand scheme of things, missing 1 1/2 hours of these 135 isn’t a big deal, so while you’re making up all of your work this cold and flu season, try to keep your barely-open-eyes on the big picture. And maybe try to avoid slipping into the dangerous cycle of taking sporadic days off without ever actually getting better. Just take the time you need so you can tackle your mounds of make up work in good health, and be sure to communicate with the fellow human beings we call teachers.