Attendance requirements during flu season are the worst thing ever. It turns what is usually a gross time of year into a gross and challenging time of year.

I’ve probably blown my nose about 57 times every day since the beginning of December; that’s an approximate number. I don’t even have any kind of sickness. However, with it being flu season, my stuffy nose can sometimes fool me into believing it’s something more sinister.

The flu is all up in Boise, and I am super worried about getting sick, mostly because being sick in college is vastly different from being sick in any other type of school I have thus far experienced. You can’t just sit it out and get better.

My roommate is sick (pretty massively sick) but she can’t actually miss any of her classes and get them excused because many professors with mandatory attendance policies require some sort of doctor’s note or an official excuse from the university for an absence to be excused. This can be difficult when—as in the case of my roommate—you don’t actually have time to get to a doctor’s office and get a note before class.

Most professors do allow one freebie, of sorts, without penalty, but the especially difficult classes to miss are labs. When your grade can be dropped a whole letter from missing one class (which does make sense, considering it’s basically 100 percent participation), it’s hard to convince yourself you’re even close to sick enough to miss class.

And that’s really the main difference isn’t it: the change in your sickness spectrum. Where once you could justify staying home due to minor stomachaches or having a cough, now that missing a class can be legitimately devastating, it’s kind of hard to find any sickness worth missing class for.

It’s not like it’s the fault of professors for requiring attendance, because it can be really necessary to dock points for missed class, but in general, sickness seems like less and less of a reason to not attend class. It’s easy to convince yourself a cough is just a cough, or it’s just a 24-hour bug, or you’re probably not super contagious, especially when missing class can mean failing.