I came into my freshman year like most: excited, nervous, and ready to experience all the fun and excitement that college brings. My first night was probably like most, I met a lot of people, explored the campus, and went out with some new-found friends. When I woke up the next morning, however, I felt terrible, and not for the typical reasons most college students wake up on a Saturday morning feeling poorly. My head and throat hurt, I felt achy, and overall pretty lousy. I assumed it was a cold though, so I decided to power through. I continued to go to all my classes and go out with my friends, hoping it would get better, despite how terrible I continued to feel.

I had an incredibly frequent and horrible cough, was extremely lethargic and achy, and had a migraine that almost never went away. After three weeks passed and I felt no relief in symptoms, I finally decided it was time to go to the health center. It took the doctor about 30 seconds after hearing my symptoms to tell me exactly what I did not want to hear: not only did I have mono, but because it is a virus there is no antibiotic or medicine, and I will most likely continue to feel the symptoms for another 3-4 weeks. I would be lying if I said I didn't cry after hearing this.

After a (very) tearful phone call with my mom, we decided I would have to make a lot of adjustments to my schedule in order to get better. This meaning that the only two things I could do was go to class and sleep. This was the last thing I wanted to hear, but I knew she was right. So that's exactly what I did, I went to class, studied and did homework, then went to bed. My doctor excused me from classes for an additional three weeks, so I was able to get some extensions on assignments. However, I decided I should still go to class so I would not fall too far behind. And although these were a very boring 3 weeks, I learned a lot from it. My friends would get me sick meals from the diner when I felt too sick to get out of bed, and when coming back from a night out, they were sure to fill me in on everything.

Most importantly, I learned the importance of taking care of myself away from home. I learned how important it is to put your health first, not only when you're sick, but at all times, especially at the beginning of college when you no longer have your parents there to take care of you. I forced me to eat healthily and go to sleep at a reasonable hour, and even though I am finally mono-free, I continue to do this. It taught me that it is okay to take a night in after a tiring week and that you really won't miss that much. It was an exhausting 2 months, but I made it through with a lot of new lessons.