Hello, tired, overworked college students,
I know exactly how you feel. The weekend arrived, you just worked hard on your assignments this week, went to classes and even took notes. You want to decompress and enjoy yourself. Unfortunately, going out has not looked the same for most people in the past few years. Everyone craves the “normalcy” of before the COVID pandemic.
Consequently, most college students choose to act as if the pandemic no longer exists.
Andrea Garcia, an expert from the American Medical Association reported, “the United Kingdom may be heading into a fall COVID wave, and experts say the U.S. may be next. … [Historically,] what happens in the U.K. with COVID is reflected here in a matter of weeks.” The pandemic never went away. Therefore, you must protect yourself.
Take it from me. Last year, I got COVID during finals.
I diligently scheduled my booster vaccine appointment through my university’s health center, but before I could make it there, I started feeling a little off. My body began to hurt. I thought, “maybe I just absolutely crushed my workouts?” My throat felt like sandpaper, but I questioned, “people have allergies all year, right? Maybe just a cold? I wear masks, so I definitely have a cold.”
The Target medicine aisle beckoned to me, and in a feverish haze, I gathered the only weapons I had against the plague. Cold and flu medicine? Check. Cough drops? Check. Tissues to replace the single-ply sandpaper called “toilet paper” I stole from the community bathroom? Check.
However, nothing healed me. Maybe sleep would work because it fixes everything. I skipped classes and slept for days, but I still refused to believe I had COVID. It felt like a never-ending cycle of half-watching TV shows on my couch, waking up for meals, falling asleep until I had to move to my actual bed, and then waking up periodically in my own sweat.
I focused on letting myself recover because I had exams in a few days. My inability to stand long enough to cleanse the copious amounts of sweat from my body indicated that I needed to go to urgent care. I decided I can’t get behind the wheel to go there if I could not stand long enough to make toast. In this moment of illness, I greatly appreciated attending an instate school that’s only an hour from home.
My father, A.K.A. my knight in shining armor, rescued me from my cocoon of illness to take me to urgent care.
The waiting room experience felt like a lengthy HGTV-infused fever dream, but they eventually swabbed me for strep and COVID. The doctor came into the room and confirmed my suspicions: I had COVID. My dad and I drove back to my room, and I packed my items to go home.
During the drive home, I emailed my professors about my current state. Some understood more than others, but how could I fix everything? Thankfully, I recovered and completed two of my exams online. My computer science professor postponed my other exam, and I temporarily had an incomplete. The exam for my last class remains unfinished to this day. I emailed my professor about the exam, and we agreed to set up a time on Zoom, so I could complete the assignment. Unfortunately, he never responded to any more of my emails. Nothing hurts more than your professor ghosting you during finals.
Essentially, protect yourself from COVID. Your GPA will thank you.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges everyone to protect themselves and others by keeping up with the vaccines, spending time in ventilated areas, getting tested if you feel ill, taking recommended precautions if you got exposed, wearing masks and keeping safe distances. COVID-safe activities create opportunities for us to try new and exciting things. Take the time to check out that hiking trail you’ve never visited, go to the drive-in theater, enjoy a picnic with your friends or try an autumnal activity and visit the apple orchard. You might even find a new favorite hobby in the process.