Abril Cuarenta


by | Jun 6, 2022 | Health, Spring/Summer 2022, Student Stories

After two years of escaping COVID-19, it finally got me at the beginning of 2022 — during my senior year at UC Davis. I had traveled around the holidays, and with the newest strain of COVID, omicron, I knew catching the virus was easier. Before I received my test results, I hung onto the hope that my vaccine and booster shot would protect me. I worried about the amount of schoolwork that was awaiting me because I’d be taking four classes in the winter quarter. Here, I’ve captured what this 10-day experience was like for me.

Day 1

I came into contact with someone who tested positive. I immediately tried setting up an appointment for a COVID-19 test on campus. None were available until the following week, so I would have to quarantine for five days, meaning I would have to keep my distance from others (if I ended up testing positive, then I would have to be isolated). I wore my N-95 mask around my house, and I carried a can of Lysol with me everywhere, afraid that I’d put my four other roommates at risk. On the first day, I ordered Chipotle and watched the lectures that I had put off earlier in the week. I was overwhelmed with how many readings I already had to do. I had to read 10 pages for one class, and two different articles for another, just for the first lecture.

Day 2

I woke up feeling congested, but I convinced myself that I didn’t have COVID and that I was just giving myself symptoms. I exercised, ate breakfast, rearranged my room, chugged two Emergen-C packets and ate oranges. I reconnected with an old friend from high school and continued to scour the internet for information regarding COVID-19 protocols. I wasn’t able to do schoolwork.

Day 3

As my symptoms continued, and only seemed to get worse, so did my schoolwork. I was sneezing, had a sore throat and a runny nose. I had a lab for Anthropology 1 and two chapter readings for my ANT100 class. I FaceTimed with my friends back home who had tested positive. We comforted each other and tried to make sense of the Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

Day 4

I started my Saturday by going on a walk (wearing my mask of course) and picking some fresh oranges from my backyard. I ordered pizza for dinner and watched one of my comfort shows. I journaled and vented to my best friend through FaceTime about the obstacles I was facing with school and COVID-19.

Day 5

Usually on Sundays I’d go somewhere with my roommates for breakfast. Instead I lay in bed and watched Netflix, lacking motivation to watch my lectures or do any of my readings. I knew that I was putting off studying for one of my midterm exams coming next week. Overwhelmed, I decided to sit in my backyard and draw for a bit. This calmed me down and made me feel better.

Day 6

I woke up and felt elated that I would be out in the sun at least for a little while. I walked for 40 minutes to make it to my PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test located at the Lot 35 Human Resources Admin Building on campus. I chose not to take Uber or the bus, in fear that I’d put others at risk. I took my test, and the nurse told me that I would receive a message with my results. The fresh air felt nice; I inhaled as much of it as I could.

Day 7

I awoke with the same minor symptoms and felt anxious that today I would receive my results. I kept refreshing my email. I couldn’t focus on any of my lectures. At 3 p.m., I received a message via my UC Davis health portal. I felt my heart race and my fingers shake as I logged in: Positive. My heart sank, but I reacted calmly. A small part of me knew I had it. I called my mom and told her, and she attempted to comfort me, asking me if I had enough groceries and medicine.

Day 8

I had gone a whole week being confined to my room. This day was particularly hard. I started to miss my parents and my friends, and kept wishing that I had stayed home after the holidays. I was starting to get tired of eating oranges and chicken noodle soup. I longed to spend time with my roommates. Once again, I FaceTimed my mother.

Day 9

No more symptoms were present. I attended all my lectures and felt productive for the first time in days. I was able to write a critical analysis for one of my classes. In one day, I would be able to take an at-home test and end my isolation.

Day 10

After asking my roommate to drive all the way to a CVS in Sacramento, I was finally able to take my at-home test. I tested negative. I caught up with my roommates and went grocery shopping with them. After this experience I feel that I have come to appreciate the time that I get to spend with my family and friends. I also learned to enjoy my own company.