How students deal with corona
‘I felt really guilty towards my parents’
First Mira had a really bad headache. Then it worsened overnight. Then she measured her temperature. ‘It was 38.5 degrees, so I immediately thought: ‘This is corona.’
Wasting no time, Mira called the GGD the next morning and was lucky to get an appointment straightaway. She did feel guilty, though, as she had to go outside to get to the test location. ‘During my bike ride I tried to avoid contact with anyone.’
The precautions were not an overkill. She tested positive. But she felt relieved. ‘I was happy that I hadn’t visited my parents, or my grandparents, or I hadn’t seen too many people recently.’
But not every student that tests positive is that lucky. Joyce, for example, had been staying with her parents when she learned she had corona, for which she tested at Schiphol airport after her vacation in Mexico. ‘I felt completely fine and didn’t have any symptoms back then’, the international business student says.
Joyce’s parents had to get tested too. Fortunately, they didn’t contract the virus. Nevertheless, the three of them had to quarantine for ten days. ‘I felt really guilty towards my parents because I was stupid enough to just assume that nothing happened during my vacation’, she says.
Close to home
Joyce was one of the first people in her friend group to catch corona. ‘Everyone was really shocked. They would always make jokes about getting corona before I actually got it’, she says. Even though she was asymptomatic at first, she lost her sense of taste. Her lungs hurt too. ‘I smoke less now because it was quite painful in the beginning.’
Mira’s feelings of relief vanished when she started to feel sick. ‘I had a fever. I was really tired. I do feel like the virus has really weakened me.’
She was also worried because, suddenly, it felt very close to home. ‘I was thinking of the chances of corona making me really sick. What if I am that one young person that does have severe symptoms?’
When Mira texted her friends and housemates that she had tested positive, one of her housemates panicked a little, too. She thought she was positive as well. ‘Even though everyone responded supportive, I noticed there suddenly was this sense of uncertainty among all of us. Everyone could get it right now’.
Together with her house, Mira worked on establishing new routines. ‘Luckily we have two bathrooms. From the moment I knew I had a fever, we made sure that I only used one bathroom, while all my roommates used the other one,’ she says.
Besides, they discussed what to do to make sure corona would not enter their house again. ‘We made a calculation. If the six of us would each have corona at a different time, it would mean that we would have to quarantine a total of 60 days together. That is two months. No one really wants that.’
When Joyce was allowed to go outside again, her friends were hesitant to meet up with her at first. Joyce says her mindset did change after corona. ‘I still see my friends, but I think we should all try to be more cautious, especially to protect those who are more vulnerable.’
Mira also has a different perspective on corona, now that she has survived it herself. ‘I feel that students who actually want to comply with the rules, are often looked down upon. That really annoys me’, she says. ‘I think we should all realise that you are the one who causes other people to have to cancel everything. Other people cannot go to their job, internship or parents, because you did not comply with the rules.’