My summer in quarantine was miserable. I took 18 credits, broke up with my boyfriend of two years, and to top it off, my entire family got coronavirus.
We were so diligent in our efforts against the virus, I swear I didn’t even walk past my mailbox the entire time I was home. Still, my brother caught the virus at an outdoor graduation ceremony for a close friend. By the next week, it spread to my dad and my mom, and the entire house was filled with a cacophony of coughing. It sounded like they were hacking up a lung (which they probably were).
However, while my family recovered from the virus, I tested negative. I felt invincible.
Tired of the constraints of my coronavirus summer, I was beyond thrilled to go back to Gainesville for the Fall semester and live with my best friends. Visions of White Claws and trips to Ginnie Springs danced through my head. I was so excited to see my friends again and relax. Like a kid on Christmas Eve, I couldn’t fall asleep quick enough on my last night at home.
Once I arrived in Gainesville, I didn’t feel those same restraints. All summer, I had avoided social interactions like the plague (quite literally) to avoid spreading the virus to my grandparents. On the news, headlines read that college students are unaffected by the virus. I felt a weight off of my shoulders as I met up with friends I hadn’t seen in months.
I did my best to abide by precautions and protocols; I didn’t go out to restaurants, I tried to limit my time in grocery stores, and I always wore a mask. I was just so excited to be in the real world again. Given the terribleness of 2020, my roommates and I were all rebounding from breakups this summer. We met up with guys from dating apps and took little precautions in these interactions.
In case you were wondering, Tinder is the worst place to be if you want to avoid coronavirus. I don’t even know what my roommates and I were thinking. Ironically, we vehemently opposed eating inside restaurants but had no issues letting strange men into our apartment. Our mask-wearing in Publix meant nothing when we were in a dim room making out with a guy who just moved up from Miami.
When my roommate frantically ran into mid-zoom lecture screaming, “We need to get tested! The guy I hooked up with is positive!” I only wished I had muted my mike sooner. That experience put our “hot girl fall” on pause.
The University of Florida’s policies made it difficult to get tested. First, I had to schedule an appointment with my primary care physician, then I had to get referred to testing, and then wait for a result. I called the infirmary Wednesday morning, had an appointment Thursday, was scheduled for testing for Friday morning, and got a confirmed positive test Friday afternoon. There was a 10-hour turn around for my test, which was impressive.
My roommates elected to be tested through CVS and were able to schedule an appointment for the next day, but they had a 48-hour turn around for their test. My roommate who had the virus over the summer was negative this time around, while the other roommate and I tested positive. The roommate who tested negative and I were promptly blocked from campus on ONE.UF. UF, for some reason, refused to acknowledge the roommate who tested positive. She emailed them several times and never got a response, nor was she offered a meal basket like I had been.
Our symptoms never got too bad, but we definitely weren’t feeling great. We had issues breathing, coughing, lethargy, and a mild fever. There was one day that all the grime in the kitchen was really bothering me, so I tried to sweep it up. I kid you not, within two minutes I was wheezing and gasping for air. My positive roommate then tried to sweep and was condemned to the same fate. The energy spent sweeping for two minutes knocked us out for hours afterward. I cannot imagine the damage that I put my body through by contracting the virus.
I’m begging y’all to really social distance. Don’t just take a photo in a mask for your Instagram. Seeing everyone’s Snapchat and Instagram stories really make me nervous. Most people are how I was: trying, but not giving it their all. That’s really not enough. Going to Midtown or hanging out with a group of people undoes all the sacrifices you’ve made this year. Every precaution taken is worthless because one mistake up may ruin your body forever. It makes me so sad to see bars opening up and students clamoring to get in or FSU’s tailgating.
We attend a top-six public school (subtle flex, I know … Go Gators!). We are smart enough to do better.