How did I get COVID-19? To be honest, I’m not sure. I had a normal weekend and did the same things I usually carefully do with my social bubble. The members of my bubble — who agree to follow safety precautions and limit contact with other people — went on walks, did grocery shopping and otherwise safely spent time together. Then the week started. People in my bubble started to feel sick. We all got tested for COVID-19, and most of our group was positive, including me.
Right away, I felt so many emotions. I was scared, sad, upset, worried and stressed. The local health department called me to do contact tracing. They helped me to talk with everyone I’d recently had contact with. It was hard to tell people I had COVID-19, but I knew it was for the best to keep everyone safe and healthy.
For the next 10 days, I followed my doctor’s recommendations: I drank lots of fluids, ate balanced meals, got lots of sleep and stayed away from others. I also let my professors and bosses know my situation. Everyone was understanding. They told me to focus on my health and to not worry about work or due dates. I kept a log of my symptoms, which fortunately were mild. With the help of my friends, I was able to get necessities delivered to me so I did not have to leave my apartment.
Overall, the experience was an emotional one. It was hard to be alone for 10 straight days. I did not have my parents to take care of me. I wasn’t able to see my friends and do things we always do, like our daily walks. I took time to rest and focused on getting better. I’m so grateful I didn’t have severe symptoms and was able to fully recover, as did my friends in my bubble.
Moving forward from COVID-19
I was very fortunate not to become severely ill from COVID-19. A lot of people my age think that they aren’t going to get sick from this, or that they won’t pass it to others. But that’s not true.
Last summer, people under 30 made up more than 20% of COVID-19 cases, and they were very much giving it to other people around them, including their friends and families. When young adults get COVID-19, they end up hospitalized in intensive care about 20% of the time. Since the pandemic began in the U.S. last year, more than 2,000 people ages 18-29 in the U.S. have died from COVID-19. In light of my own experience, those facts are very sobering to me. It could have been much, much worse.
I know there are many people who haven’t fully recovered from COVID-19 like I did. The long-term effects some people have — including young people — are scary. Wearing a mask and following other health and safety guidelines are important to both end this pandemic and protect those at high risk for severe illness.
Even though I’ve recovered, I continue to follow guidelines to protect myself and others from COVID-19. I wash my hands, wear a mask and maintain physical distance. I’m looking forward to getting vaccinated! Now that COVID-19 vaccines are open to all, I highly recommend that everyone my age get theirs too.
This experience was not an enjoyable one, and I hope other college students continue to take care and remember it’s not just their lives they’re risking.
Check out these tips for college students from CDC for more information on how to stay safe.