Missing school in college is bad but missing a lecture in law school is practically the end of the world! Most people (in my opinion) do not like to skip classes and only do so when they are absolutely on their death bed. However, the problem with this is that they spread their germs to the rest of us.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, then you know my immune system sucks! In 2007, I was diagnosed with endometriosis after experiencing two years of severe abdominal pain.
endometriosis: is a gynecological medical condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus (endometrium) appear and flourish outside the uterine cavity, most commonly on the membrane which lines the abdominal cavity. (Wikipedia)
If that wasn’t enough, I was told in 2009 that I had early on-set multiple sclerosis pre-lesions, my first thought was WHAAAAA?! Like any 21 year old, I decided to go to the most reliable source I know — Wikipedia!
Multiple sclerosis (MS), also known as “disseminated sclerosis” or “encephalomyelitis disseminata”, is an inflammatory disease in which the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are damaged, leading to demyelination and scarring as well as a broad spectrum of signs and symptoms.
After reading the symptoms, combined with the constant pain I still dealt with daily from the endometriosis, I was pretty freaked out!
Anyways, all of this makes me susceptible to just about anything and everything that goes around. If you are in law school right now, then you know that it is a breeding ground for illnesses. None of us want to miss a lecture so we drag our butts to class, praying the professor doesn’t call on us, and try our best to pay attention. Gotta save up those absences until the end of the semester, right?
Enter Super Flu 2013
This flu season has been crazy active at Stetson Law… maybe this is what the Mayans meant by the world ending in December, because that’s about when it started and no one wants to live through this beast of a flu.
I started off the semester strong, attending all my lectures and taking extremely thorough notes since I decided to try the “no computer” method. Then, my number was called.
It started with feeling blah. Nothing serious, I thought, probably rundown from doing too much. Yet, it persisted and slowly evolved into the super flu. Somehow I managed to only miss one lecture, at first. I thought I could strengthen my immune system by switching to a healthier lifestyle and kick this bug faster. In February I switched to a Paleo diet and started doing Crossfit, and at first I felt a lot bet! Nonetheless, I could not kick the blah feeling. The nausea was unbearable and I couldn’t sleep through the night.
Fast forward to today and my absence count has reached the maximum and my ability to take the final is in jeopardy if I miss one more lecture. This would not be a big deal if I were normally healthy, but with a new strain of “super flu” circulating around my campus, I am really worried. How did I allow myself into this position? Why didn’t I take more precautions knowing how susceptible I am to catching any flu/cold/bug/etc.
The ABA requires that all students attend 80% of lecture hours per course in order to sit for the final. The rule is a relatively recent change (from what I’m told) and every professor I have seems to express disdain for it; however, it’s the ABA so we have to follow it!
How is this fair, though, for students with health issues? My school has an “extraordinary circumstances” claim, which may be able to help me but do I want to document every illness I have that may cause me to miss school more frequently? Maybe I can increase my vitamin C intake for the next four weeks and pray I stay healthy without having to do any further paperwork? It will at least be good to have my doctor excuse on file.
Advice for Future Law Students
If you have any health issues or concerns now, get them checked out prior to starting law school. Your body will be under an extreme amount of stress and trying to regulate medications, discover new illnesses, etc will not mesh well with your busy schedule — especially first year.
You should definitely have health insurance (most schools provide an optional coverage plan for students) and work on developing a reliable health regime before starting law school.
Talk to Others
This does not mean to sit around and complain about law school, but it does mean to find an unbiased (and trustworthy) source to vent to every so often. Do not allow the pressure of school and the course load to buildup because breaking down will not be a made of if but when. It will happen. So, take precautions a head of time and try to relax occasionally. Relaxing may seem impossible but if you do not make it a priority then you will wish you did later.
To learn about making SMART goals, see: How Smart are your Goals?