The common cold is a contagious viral disease that brings discomfort to billions of people each year. The days of sore throats, throbbing headaches, and endless sneezing are never viewed with optimism and when you get it – there is nothing to do but bear it through. It makes everything difficult: from focussing in the classroom to swimming for a scholarship-worthy time. That is why in public venues, people bearing the curse are encouraged to stay home. It makes perfect sense. If you can isolate the problem, it will not spread to more people and everybody can continue untroubled through their daily tasks.

However, there is a flaw in this policy when dealing with nerdy high school students. Sure, during most parts of the year we don’t have too much to lose by taking a day off from school. You can sleep in for a while, watch a bit of television, and when you start to feel guilty for slacking off work on that assignment you have been putting off for weeks. When your friends log in on Facebook, you can begin to make up for the materials you missed. This shouldn’t be too big of a deal, and the contagion will be more or less eliminated in seclusion. The issue comes when things get hectic. Sometimes there are days that you absolutely cannot miss, like around exams, summatives, and days where multiple deadlines seem to intentionally congregate. You are pissed off because you already arranged with your immune system not to be sick that day. Should you go to school to avoid stressing over the catch-up or should you segregate yourself from the rest of society for the greater good?

Ha. Good one. I’m only sick because somebody else was not considerate enough. I’ll just do the sleeve cough thing and keep my distance from people.This will certainly result in a vicious cycle. As more people get infected, the keen ones will continue to go to school. Sooner or later, everybody without an iron immune system or a surgeon’s mask will have to battle the cold during the very hectic time. For nerds, the perfect formula for frustration calls for a poor performance in an evaluation, one that will certainly occur when battling a serious brain impairment like a headache.

But there is a glimmer of hope. Our reasoning is incapable of doing this, but our immune system learns from its mistakes. After an infection, it will rebuild its defences to be much stronger than before. This is why, if you live a reasonably conservative lifestyle, you will never get sick twice in succession. To make the most use of this property of our body, we should coordinate when we get sick.* Arrange with your classmates to intentionally catch a cold a few weeks before an anticipated intense week of school. This is how you do it.

  1. Roam the city looking for someone who is coughing their lungs out.
  2. Once the target is identified, casually walk in front of them and initiate a conversation at eye level. Be sure to take deep breaths
  3. Allow the virus to settle. A few hours should be enough.
  4. Repeat with consenting friends.

We are a species obsessed with control, so why not control our sickness patterns? Disaster strikes unexpectedly so we cannot risk it occurring in the most crucial of times. By forcing everybody to be sick at the same time, maybe we will even inadvertently force common cold viruses into extinction.

*The author is not responsible for personal or property damage resulting from suggestions made in this article. Use only to take initiative to change the world.