Surviving Finals During Flu Season

It’s that time of year again! Unfortunately for us, finals coincide with flu season and an unlucky combo of stress and sickness makes it all the more miserable, especially if you’re not prepared. Here’s your guide to academic success when you’re feeling under the weather:

Your Sick Exam Kit:

  • Tissues: even if you’re healthy, cold air makes noses run and chances are you’ll be sniffling all through your exam unless you keep a pack of these on you. It’ll save you that awkward run to the bathroom mid-exam to blow your nose. Remember, don’t wipe your nose on your sleeve or your hand! Even if you don’t care, you’re spreading germs to your unappreciative classmates. 


  • Tea: Bringing something warm to your exam will help calm your nerves and warm you up on the long walk to class. Try green tea which is full of antioxidants to boost your immune system. If you’re a caffeine addict (guilty) and you can’t live without your fix, this also has some caffeine but is much less dehydrating than coffee.


  • A good night’s sleep: Be sure to study hard during the day so you can make time for a full 8hrs before an exam (studies prove cramming the night before is inefficient anyway). And if being sick is seriously cutting into your z’s, stop by Wolverine Wellness on the second floor of UHS to pick up a sleep kit guaranteed to help you get some much needed rest. 


  • Stress ball (or any de-stressing tool that works best for you. If you are stressed, your body won’t recover as quickly meaning you’ll be sick longer and be stressed longer too. Take 20 minutes to do some relaxing the night before an exam, no matter how busy your schedule is you can afford a break and it’ll help you stay focused later.


  • A note from your UHS (don’t expect them to work the day of an exam though!): The university provides you with free checkups, take advantage of it. And while you’re there, pick up a note to excuse yourself from your classes while you’re still contagious and sick in bed. Don’t go to class if you are extremely sick (that’s how germs spread). Check your syllabi to see if your professors allow you a sick day without losing attendance points.  If they do, TAKE IT, and be sure to hit up office hours after you’re better.


  • If you can’t miss class without getting points off: present the UHS note and make sure to speak with your professor or GSI. Always talk with your instructor(s) if your workload becomes too overwhelming. It doesn’t hurt to ask for an extension if you really need it. Just don’t forget you’re not the only person who’s been sick this winter, so be respectful. Don’t expect your professors to grant you an extra day if you email them the night before a paper is due, though. Oftentimes, a missed exam cannot be made up so be sure to let your professor know as soon as possible if you really don’t think you can make it.

It helps to get as much work done as possible while you’re healthy just in case a cold or something worse catches you off-guard during your busiest days. Always be prepared, be smart, and be healthy. Good luck on finals!


Contributed by Amanda Swoger