Have your allergies ever challenged your ability to succeed academically? Have you ever had to miss courses or been unable to do course work on time because you were ill? I definitely have. Sometimes it can be tough to wrap our minds around it because at that very moment the only thing on our mind is ” I wish I didn’t have to miss classes” or ” I hope my teachers understand, give me some time to catch up and don’t fail me “. It’s very easy to get caught up in the moment.
Over the past few years, I have had many occasions when I could not attend courses due to my environmental allergies and asthma being out of control. The most frustrating thing for me was that I wasn’t 100% what was the primary trigger. At one point, I was so annoyed with having to miss classes I had paid for that I decided to wear a mask. Truth be told, it was really tough on my ego to sit in an auditorium with 200 or so other students in their early 20’s who were likely wondering why I was wearing such a thing. I knew I had to boost my confidence and for me, that meant standing up in front of everyone and briefly explaining why I was wearing it. And to my surprise, after each brief mention about it (in different classes) I would sit down, sigh a breathe of relief and feel like a ton of weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
So my question is… What makes us so uncomfortable and shy to do something that keeps us safe and our symptoms under control and leaves us breathing well? Why do we feel sooo different? The reality is, having allergies doesn’t make us THAT different from everyone else in the world. So why do people stare? Perhaps they don’t know & understand. It comes down to awareness again. How can you help spread awareness?