Sick people: stay home

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With cold, flu, and allergy seasons in full swing, it’s common to be welcomed to class by a cacophony of coughing and hacking. After all, at a school full of students yearning to get into Ivy League schools, one’s health doesn’t exactly come first on the priority list. Understandably, some students don’t want to miss out on days of school because of missed tests and an extra pile of homework, but the last thing I want to hear while taking a math test is the sound of excessive sniffling. With that being said, I plead those of you who are sick: please stay home.

What students seem to forget is that being sick can also hinder their academic performance. In my experience, I know that if I’m coughing, then I am definitely not raising my hand. If my throat hurts, then I’m certainly not speaking in class, and between taking cough syrup and ibuprofen tablets, I can feel the drowsiness set in as my body begs for rest. What’s the point of being in class if you’re not really there?

The common misconception is that being absent, even once, will hinder one’s chances of getting into selective colleges. This is not the case. Poor attendance can reflect in one’s grades, but only in extreme situations where a student is regularly late or absent. Teachers can also include this in their recommendations, but commentary on a student’s attendance is rare and usually only occurs when the student is chronically absent.

When applying for college, students send in their transcripts, which consist of a list of grades from every class since the beginning of high school, all culminating into one average known as your GPA. While scores such as Regents tests grades and credits obtained are recorded, attendance is not. Colleges are able to request attendance records, but they seldom do so unless the grade in a specific class is extraordinarily low.

As a daughter to parents who have been surreptitiously slipping brochures of top colleges under my pillow ever since the beginning of junior year, it’s understandable that sometimes parents are the cause of a student’s presence in class. But It’s more important to realize that health comes first. Numbers don’t mean anything if you aren’t healthy enough to stand behind them, something many fail to realize. Many students fail to see that personal health, both mental and physical, are important to one’s performance.

If you feel like you can’t get up in the morning, sick or not, remember that it’s okay to take a day off. I promise that your teachers, your parents, and the college of your dreams will understand.