After spending winter break sleeping in, feasting on home cooking and visiting distant family, I have to admit that I was starting to miss waking up early, Kraft dinner and semester romances. So I welcomed the return of the new term of university with open arms. But this rosy image of school lasted exactly five minutes from sitting down in my first class to when the person sitting behind me let out a massive billowing phlegm-filled cough. Ah school, how I missed you.
I know that it’s a new year, but you’d think that given 2014’s obsessive Ebola coverage, the lessons learned in the last year wouldn’t have gone out the window with the cramming for finals from last semester. Yet, it feels as if the little lessons that we learned happened to fall by the wayside.
Contrary to the belief of some of my classmates, coughing without covering your mouth does in fact spread your sickness. Wiping your mucus-covered hands on the arm rests and door handles is actually frowned upon by your classmates, and just because you skipped your flu shot doesn’t make you more in touch with nature.
In fact, I can’t be the only one who is getting pissed off with the selfish people who drag their sick selves out of bed so they can be another warm body in class for 50 minutes. Also, everyone knows that they’re sick. If you look up from your tablet/paper/phone, you might see one of them. You can tell who they are by their raw nose, watery eyes, pallid complexion, how they usually have more in common with an extra from The Walking Dead and their misguided determination to come to class.
Now the motivation for coming to school may be well-intentioned. The reasoning behind such a decision may involve the tired mantra of treating school like a job or something to do with never missing a day of school. And while this type of work ethic is commendable, it’s also horribly misguided, selfish and detrimental to the student body as a whole. Because you can’t swallow your pride and spend a day at home, some other poor sap might get knocked on their ass for longer than you were.
With the start of 2015 has naturally come several New Year’s resolution lists; things like resolving to hit the gym or acing this or that class. But maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe this year we should resolve to do things a little differently and resolve to cover our mouths when we cough, to consume more than coffee and kale, and maybe, just maybe, take a day to actually get better. Let’s work hard but remember that reading week is still a long ways away. Let’s take better care of ourselves and each other or we won’t survive the plague.