My COVID-19 Journey (thus far…)

My name is Savanna Hagler and I am in my last semester here at UNC. I am from the Charlotte, NC, area and am studying exercise and sport science and neuroscience. My future plans are to attend PA school within the next three years. I love memes and making my friends laugh. In my free time, I enjoy hiking and swimming, or honestly anything outdoors. I love my friends and am so sad about the current state of our country and how it has affected my college experience. What started out as what I considered to be a “fun” and much needed extension of spring break ultimately has transformed into a rather permanent alteration of life as I knew it.

In the beginning, it seemed too surreal to actually be of any real importance to me. Sure, a more than a few people in China and Italy were pretty sick, but all in all, only four people had the novel Coronavirus in the United States at this time, so how concerned did I really need to be? I was just excited for the extension of my spring break and couldn’t wait to return to campus extra energized, less sleep deprived, and ready to conquer the remainder of my sixth semester at UNC. Unfortunately, none of that was meant to be.

With the extension of spring break, I figured educators and deans were just trying to play it safe and to encourage self-quarantining for those who went out of town for their break. Never in a million years did I think that our country would be in the state it is in today as a direct result of our lack of control on this situation. Honestly, I thought that officials and authorities were being way too liberal in their handling of the situation and didn’t really see the need for the stay at home orders and what not. I now realize that no matter how strictly they would have tried to enforce them or how liberal their approach was, many people would still simply choose not to comply with officials for whatever reason and our country would very likely be in the same state it is in currently.

At first, I was embarrassed to wear a mask in public. I said it. I hated that my mom made me wear a mask if I wanted to grocery shop for myself (this was before it was mandated). I look back and laugh now because I have a different mask in every bag and vehicle that I regularly use. If I had a dime for every “Oh shit, my mask,” that has exited my or my housemates mouths, I would probably be rich enough to not need a college degree at this point. I’ve also become an avid contact lens wearer due to the frustration experienced by having my glasses fog up with every breath while wearing glasses. All in all, I hate the masks, but so does everyone else. I also realize that wearing the mask is my duty to the community since I am choosing to remain active in it, unlike many of my fellow peers.

Besides the downward decline made by the country throughout all of this, I believe it is also safe to say that my mental health took quite a beating as the situation unfolded. Being home with my parents and siblings for five months with no real escape for the first time since high school had its consequences. Not being able to see or hang out with my lovely college friends whom I consider my family was heart breaking. Everyone turned twenty-one on their own with no celebration. Everything that I was looking forward to for my last spring semester was stripped away from me piece by piece. The only good thing that I can confidently say came out of my at home experience was getting to spend some quality time with my dog, Chico, whom I miss dearly when I am away at school.

Overall, my Covid-19 journey has not been a great one, but I don’t think anyone else’s really has been great, either. I can’t wait for things to go back to normal, or at least approach a return to normal. It seems as if we are on a never ending downward decline as a country in our handling of this situation. My favorite analogy of all of this so far is that it’s like in elementary school when you would get silent lunch, but a few kids keep talking during it so you keep getting silent lunch. I really wish those few people would just shut up so we can work on healing as a country. It is not a conspiracy. It is not political. It is a literal virus that does not discriminate in its victims.

Here is my attempt at hyperlinking and I have included an image of me with my sweet pup, Chico.

Savanna and Chico in quarantine, spending some quality time together.

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