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The Persistence of our Plague-ridden Students

Walking through the hallways, you can sense it. Your skin chills, your head dizzies, and apprehension sets in at the sight of that classmate’s numerous tissues: The Academy Plague is upon us.

This formidable title does not refer to a single disease, but to the ever-changing symptoms that characterize those downtrodden but dedicated. Those who show up to school with a running nose, slight fever, migraine, and sore throat. Why? The thought process of your typical overly-committed student goes something like this: I can’t miss today! There’s morning orchestra practice, and I still haven’t nailed that solo. With a math test next week, it’d be impossible to miss 70 minutes worth of notes. An absence in history will anger my group for this new project. And that big soccer game is in three days; skipping practice would land me on the bench.

And so students reluctantly trudge to school with vital support from Tylenol and Kleenex. They may survive the day, but not without a few casualties. That teacher’s hand you shook at morning check in will touch anywhere from 40 to 90 more hands this morning. The bathroom door you opened now has galaxies of germs awaiting transmission. And heaven forbid you happen to share a water bottle at practice.

Was it really worth it? You will get home and crash, craving the sleep and fluids you might have enjoyed had you stayed home sick. And you will not feel any better tomorrow, but worse for all the friends blaming their illness on you. Academy students are not invincible. The amount of work and pressure makes it seem as though missing a day of school will be the end of the world. And so when one falls, we all follow. Enter the Plague. It is here to stay, unless you can take one for the team and take a break.

Written by Kendall Silwonuk ‘15


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