Feeling sick sucks. Feeling sick in a completely unfamiliar environment without your mom, your bed, or your favorite chicken noodle soup recipe is even worse. I would know – I got pretty sick on my first day of freshman orientation and stayed that way for the next three days. But fear not! I've made a list of major keys for what to do when you're feeling sick at school.

This is a guide that I wish I had when I couldn't stand up for ten minutes without wanting to vomit, and I hope it'll be useful for fellow students suffering a multitude of ailments, from a trivial common cold to the most violent cases of stomach flu.

Work With the Dining Hall

When I was sick at school, I was told to avoid greasy foods, dairy, too much protein, acidic foods, spicy foods, and raw vegetables. More specifically, the doctors told me to follow the BRATT diet: bananas, rice, apples, toast, and tea. Oh, and stay really hydrated.

Knowing what the average dining hall serves – pizza, fries, burgers, salads, and cookies – I thought eating to get better would be impossible. But the dining hall actually does have wellness-conducive options if you're willing to look for them. There was plain oatmeal (what I considered a derivative of rice) every morning, multiple types of bread and toasters, enough bananas to stock my dorm room for days, and a side pot of brown rice with every lunch and dinner. While banana toast was probably the most exciting thing I ate for three straight days, my stomach pains decreased in frequency and intensity so much faster than my sick, pizza-eating counterparts.

If your dining hall really doesn’t serve these types of food, you could also go to a local grocery store or pharmacy and pick up some basic staples like a can of chicken noodle soup or instant oatmeal. No, it’s not included in your dining plan, but buying healthful food can definitely save you some sleepless, painful nights and maybe even more serious illness.

Take Advantage of Health Services

Please don’t be afraid to go to your university health services. The doctors there truly want to help students! I spent three hours at my university’s health services, crying in pain (and overall being a pain), but the doctors were kind, patient, and thorough in their evaluation of and response to my condition.

Check to see if your school offers free urgent care or check-ups through health services. Often, student health services don’t cost nearly as much to students as they might think. Take advantage of them before you hit the real world of unstable finances.

Be Honest with People

Sometimes college can feel lonely, especially as a freshman. But even if you feel like you don’t know anyone, let people know what kind of situation you’re in and you’ll be surprised by the result. My residential proctor was super empathetic, telling me all about her recent stomach issues to make herself more approachable and relatable. My roommates, who I had only met the night before, weren’t grossed out at all and even bought me medicine and food. When people didn’t recognize me from early orientation events, they really made an effort to include and get to know me after I told them why I missed a couple of days. Generally speaking, people are nice and want to help you, especially since most everyone knows what it feels like to be sick.

Ignore FOMO

Don’t let FOMO (fear of missing out) hinder your healing process. Missing required meetings, information sessions, meet & greets, and opportunities for free stuff because I was sick made me really anxious. In the end, it wasn’t a big deal at all.

Talking to the upperclassmen gave me the same information as sitting through an hour-long session would have. My roommates gave me one-minute summaries on what I missed in the boring meetings. There were plenty less stressful and more low-key opportunities to meet other freshmen and actually connect with potential friends. And after I got better, I actually had the energy to collect all those t-shirts and water bottles, and I was able to enjoy the free food rather than double over in pain half an hour after gorging on Insomnia cookies.

Anything you miss can be made up in full, and everything you participate in is so much more fun when your body is feeling 100%.

Feeling sick at school is definitely not fun. But when it inevitably happens, I hope this guide offers some helpful tips on how to feel better as soon as possible. Get well soon, and get back to the best four years of your life