In college we’re not privileged to school cancellations like we were in high school
Whether it’s H1N1 or just plain old influenza, it seems that cold season is upon us. Classes are now filled with coughing, sniffling, germ-infested students.
Area K-12 school districts have already felt the symptoms of flu season and have been forced to close school several days in the past week. For most schools, this means that over 25 percent of their student population was absent due to sickness.
In college however, we aren’t privilege to the same benefits as elementary, middle, and high school students. We don’t shutdown or cancel classes often, especially not simply due to illness.
I remember when I was in middle and high school; I loved it when school got cancelled for any reason at all.
In my high school, on three separate occasions school got cancelled because of mercury contamination in the hallways. Not to mention the countless snow days we got in the winter.
In college, if we’re sick we’re just told to stay in dorm rooms and not come to class for risk of exposing our professors and fellow students to the microbes infesting our bodies.
A lot of students don’t stay away like they’re told, however. For some, it’s because missing class, if only for a couple days, means falling behind with only a slight chance of catching up again.
For others, I’ve been told that it’s because some of their professors have strict attendance policies that don’t allow over two absences during the semester for any reason, even illness.
It looks like it’s time for all of us to brace ourselves for the upcoming months and stock up on decongestants, cough syrup, throat lozenges, hot tea, and flu shots. Conditions are only likely to get worse as winter approaches in the next month.
This brings me to my next reminiscent memory, snow days: something that we’re unquestionably not accustomed to in college.
Winters are one aspect of going to college in Big Rapids that I was definitely not prepared for when I moved here last year. The severity of winter in Big Rapids was a shocker.
I was awestruck when the snowfall reached over 18 inches overnight. My advice to all freshmen: invest in a shovel because you’re going to need it to dig out your car this winter.
Walking to class is also quite an ordeal, especially when sidewalks don’t get plowed before 8 a.m. class and you’re forced to trek across campus through a foot or more of snow. And even if they do get cleared, they’re often covered in ice and snow within the next hour.
I grew up in southeastern Michigan, where trucks begin plowing and salting the streets at 4 a.m. and school buses managed to drive down even the iciest back roads.
We also don’t get the same wintery weather like that of Big Rapids however and if we ever experienced more than a foot-and-a-half of snow or excessive temperatures in the negative, we’d probably have snow days for a week.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d take a day in college over one in middle or high school without a second consideration, but it doesn’t discount the fact that in high school, we were definitely privileged to a few more days off.