My Experience with COVID-19

One student recounts her experience getting COVID, and discusses how it affected her relationships, school work, and overall well-being.

My+Experience+with+COVID-19

Over Winter Break of 2022, I traveled to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, to spend the week with my grandparents. I left Wisconsin on Christmas Day and traveled on two separate airplanes to reach my destination. We spent a great deal of time merely enjoying our grandparent’s company and exploring their current town.

Everything was going great, and we even got a surprise trip to Orlando, Florida, to visit Universal Studios. We flew out of New Orleans and arrived at our hotel late in the afternoon. The first night we decided to go to Disney Springs, which is a tourist attraction that has numerous stores and restaurants. There were food trucks, Lego buildings, and thousands of people. The first thing I noticed was how insanely crowded the place was. Everywhere you looked you would see people not wearing their masks. Everyone was shoulder to shoulder trying to get around. My whole family wore our masks properly while we were outside even though the heat made it incredibly hard to breathe. We barely spent a couple of hours there because the number of people was utterly unbearable.

The next day was dedicated to Universal Studios. We were there from 8 am to 10 pm. While I tried my hardest to wear my mask the whole day, the heat, on top of all the walking, made it extremely difficult. I had to pull my mask down every once in a while when we were walking outside. The day itself was amazing, and I had a delightful time. We spent the entire next day traveling. We took two airplanes, one of which was delayed two hours, and then we had to drive two hours back to my grandparent’s house. It was an exhausting day.

Tuesday night, the 5th of January, I woke up with a terrible headache. It felt like I was suffering from a migraine. I tried drinking water, but it wouldn’t go away. I took Advil and went back to bed. It was extremely challenging to fall asleep and a terrible way to end my trip. The next day was also dedicated to traveling, this time back to Wisconsin. I was eager to come home. I had already missed three days of school and the thought of missing more stressed me out. Flying was terrible. We took two more planes, and I felt horrible the entire time. The first plane was extremely hot, and the air conditioning didn’t work. It was a small place and on top of feeling sick, I was extremely claustrophobic and almost had a panic attack on the flight. I couldn’t wait to get home.

It wasn’t until, again, later that night, that the pain started to become unbearable. My head was torturing me, and I was feeling nauseous. Even when I fell asleep, I would wake up with the same pounding headache. It just wouldn’t go away. I was given some pills to help relieve the pain, and it dimmed it a little bit. That night I decided I couldn’t go back to school because I was still in so much discomfort and knew I wouldn’t be capable of focusing in class. 

The school had emailed me later explaining I needed to get tested for COVID, and once I got a negative result, I was allowed to return. I took my test Friday morning, after dealing with my car breaking down and having to take my neighbor’s van. I waited three days for my results to come back when they said it would merely take 24 hours. I was getting frustrated because I didn’t want to miss any more school. I had already missed a full week.

Over the weekend, my headache had practically disappeared, but new side effects decided to make an appearance. My throat was extremely sore, and it felt like I had strep throat. It was hard to swallow and even drinking water wouldn’t help. In addition, I had a stuffy nose and was easily exhausted. Yet, I genuinely didn’t believe I had COVID. All things considered, it just felt like I had an intense cold. Then, Monday morning, at 10 am, my mom sent me my results. I was Positive.

My entire life flipped upside down. I instantly started messaging my friends and family members to let them know. My quarantine had officially begun.

The first day was hectic. I was speaking to so many people and trying to figure out when I would be able to go back to school. My mom was emailing the school, and my dad and sister had to stay home from work. I felt terrible. Physically I was okay but mentally was a different story. I kept receiving notifications from the school with new assignments every day, and I was already trying to catch up with what I missed last week.

Even though I had so much missing work, I couldn’t get myself to do any of it. I had no motivation and was physically exhausted. I could barely walk down the stairs without getting out of breath. I slept most of my days away and when I woke up, I would go right back to bed. This new schedule was extremely unhelpful for me when the real world came back into view.

Going back to school was extremely stressful. I had missed two full weeks of classes and unfortunately for me, I was returning on finals week. Meaning, I missed out on two weeks of lessons, prep, and packets to study for my tests. Teachers were supposed to be helpful during this time, and while some were, the majority couldn’t care less. My teachers expected me to comprehend everything in less than two days and then take the tests. I wasn’t offered any extra help for what I missed and was just told to ask my friends. I had to make a career poster within one class period. I had to study for a 60 question chemistry final. Additionally, I had to take a pre-calculus test and then was given one night to prepare for the entire final. I spent every day of the week I returned studying and doing school work. My body was so used to relaxing all day, and the change was miserable.

I wasn’t prepared for COVID. It came out of nowhere, and the timing couldn’t have been worse. I was lucky enough to experience more mild symptoms and not have to worry about my health as much when I had COVID. Others do not have this luxury. People are dying every day from COVID-19, and all need to help slow things down. These last two weeks forced me to open my eyes to the issues happening. It made it real, and I had to remember that even though the world is open again, we have not gone back to normal. COVID is still here and is not going away on its own. Although the world shutting down again may sound scary, it may also be a brilliant solution to help slow down the spread and allow hospitals more open beds. We’ve done it once before, we can do it again. This unfamiliar way of life is not enjoyed by anyone, but we have to accept it and try our hardest to keep everyone safe.