College Student Struggles To Sit Through Class Because The Room Stinks — ‘It’s Literally Making Me Sick'

Talking about odor is always an uncomfortable subject.

Man covering his nose due to stinky classroom BongkarnGraphic, Vectorpocket, Africa Studio / Shutterstock

If you never experienced an odor so pungent that it almost singed your nose hairs, consider yourself lucky. Have you ever left food in your fridge for too long? Have you forgotten to take the trash out for a while?

Smells can become unbearable, but most of us are fortunate enough to not have to deal with those experiences often. One college student was not so fortunate and turned to the "r/college" subreddit.


The student sought advice on how to address an odor in one of his classes that was making him physically ill.

In the post he shared, he asked if an email he had drafted was okay to send to his professor anonymously, explaining that the smell inside of his classroom had become so unbearable that if he stayed in it too long, he'd become sick. 



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Without any other options, the student decided it was time to address the matter head-on and see if his proposed correspondence passed the "sniff test."

Like any polite and respectful student, he started his email by apologizing for any offense that might be taken, then quickly got into the meat of the matter.

Not surprisingly, this student wasn't the only one who took notice of the putrid smell in the classroom. Several others spent their instructional time plugging their noses to block out the intense scent.

According to the poster, it had gotten to the point where the smell was so invasive that it distracted the learning process and caused him to become nauseous. He even spent a portion of his time in class, holding his breath, which is obviously not ideal for taking in important information.


student complains to professor about smelly classroomPhoto: Reddit

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The student suggested that other people in the classroom might be the source of the unpleasant smell. 

He asked the professor to "give a gentle reminder" to everyone to bathe correctly and to put on deodorant.


In the end, due to the overwhelming discomfort associated with broaching such an offensive subject, the young man offered another apology for being "dramatic," but reasoned that his struggle with the scent left him no other choice but to ask for resolution. 

The commenters overwhelmingly supported the considerate yet straightforward approach, and many even said that the student was much more patient than they might have been under the circumstances. Someone posted, "Yeah I wouldn't even be [sending] e-mails. I'd be walking into class [saying], 'It smells like something died in here. [Professor], you smell this?'"

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Is it really possible for a bad smell to make you sick?


Being exposed to strong odors can indeed have negative effects on your health. They can cause mild symptoms or, in some cases, more serious outcomes.

Chemicals that are released into the air might cause irritation in your eyes, nose, lungs, or throat. You may experience a burning sensation, followed by coughing, wheezing, or even trouble breathing.

Seemingly innocent odors like personal care products, air fresheners, and candles can result in unwanted physical reactions as well.


As for odorous people, the response from those who come in contact with their body odor can vary depending on how sensitive that person is to odors. Though research has not identified the cause of the illness their smell can bring on in some people, our unconscious perceptions could play a major role in assigning unwanted odors to illness.

Either way, addressing an unpleasant scent is appropriate when is it infringing on the comfort of your environment. 

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington. She covers lifestyle, relationships, and human-interest stories that readers can relate to and that bring social issues to the forefront for discussion.