Dealing With COVID-19 as a First-Year Student

Dealing With COVID-19 as a First-Year Student

Damen Khamdaeng

Joceline Medina, Staff

Move-in Day. What a special time for everyone, especially for those who were about to experience college-life for the very first time— including me. Some were terrified, while others were filled with excitement. It was a new chapter in our lives, and an opportunity to become the person we’ve always wanted to be. Nothing could stop us— or so I thought.  

Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be living through a pandemic. On top of that, I was expected to start my first year at college. I thought moving away from home was difficult enough. COVID-19 had forced me to adjust my lifestyle. From wearing masks everywhere I go, to keeping my distance from crowds of people. This had become everyone’s new normal.  

Freshman Orientation had been a new experience for me, as it had been for everyone this year. I got to meet some very wonderful people and get familiar with the place in which I’d be spending the next four years. Who knew how much a weekend full of team-building activities could wear you out? It was nice to have some social interaction after months of quarantining at home, but the number of students wearing their masks improperly was substantial. I couldn’t help but think of the many positive cases that would come out of this event.  

There was always a possibility of contracting COVID-19 on campus, but I didn’t think it would happen so soon. It was the evening before the first day of classes, and I was on my way to my dorm room when my orientation group chat had blown up with messages. I had come to find out that a student in my orientation group had tested positive for COVID-19 and because of our poor social distancing skills, we were advised to quarantine at home for 14 days to prevent the spread of the virus. 

I was nervous enough to begin my first week of school. Having to attend class through zoom had raised my anxiety further. Classes were just as I expected. My face had been displayed on the screen for everyone to see, and class discussions were very challenging to hear. My first day had left me feeling worried about the remainder of my quarantine. In my opinion, online learning was not as effective as face-to-face learning. 

Testing for COVID-19 was another item to add to my list of unfortunate events. After a few days of quarantine, I had booked an appointment at the Iowa Testing Site near King’s Pointe. I had gone through this process before and I dreaded doing it again. Having a six-inch cotton swab shoved into each of my nostrils for fifteen seconds, wasn’t very pleasant. I left the site, with the perpetual feeling of the swab rotating in the back of my throat. Luckily, in less than forty-eight hours after testing, I was notified that I was COVID free.  

This was surely not how I pictured my first two weeks of college. I had to face many complications, but I hadn’t let this experience get in the way of my success. If there is anything that I can take from this occurrence, it is to expect the unexpected. While it is impossible to predict the future, it is important to understand that anything can happen.