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On Being Sick

Submitted by Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy on December 6th, 2014

As we enter the winter season, this year’s class of bacteria and viruses will be waiting to greet students with open arms. While no one intends to be sick, sickness is an inevitable part of life. Yet, once sick, students resist taking time to rest, so as to “not fall behind.” Sickness is disruptive, forcing those who are ill to choose between denial or healing.

Recovering from the common cold and flu may only require a few days absence from school—not enough time to cause catastrophic academic failure. Staying home is also a simple act of kindness to one’s fellow students and teachers, not to pass viruses to their next host. By contrast, continuing everyday activities, pretending not to be sick, can cause difficulties. Body aches, coughing and sniffling can break the concentration needed to comprehend complex academic concepts, thus requiring even more time to complete assignments. Plus, not taking time to rest can further weaken immunity, leaving students vulnerable to secondary viruses, which compound the original infection and prolong the weeks being sick.

Illness is unavoidable, yet manageable. Retreating from everyday life for a few days to let the common cold or flu run its natural course will not hamper academic achievement. In fact, taking a short break may be “just what the doctor ordered” in more ways than one.

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