What having COVID-19 as a student is actually like

As if the stress of being a final year student wasn’t enough, our writer George Cowell has recently found that he is coronavirus positive. The NTU Journalism student has decided to give Platform readers an insight of what it is really like to deal with the virus at university.

We are all braced for it. The second wave. Despite the governments “best efforts”, we find ourselves here again, cases are rising exponentially and just as it was at the start, the fingers are now starting to be drawn from our winter coats and we’re all trying to point at someone; we need someone to blame. Many people are blaming students.

However, I’m not here to point out the ludicrous nature of locking students into housing contracts a year before they start their courses, and then blaming them for the rise of Covid cases when they were drawn and sometimes forced back to universities by the powers that be.

I’m simply here to discuss my own experiences with Covid as a student in one of the most student dense cities in the country.

I lost my sense of smell on October 10, which was fine because I’m not a florist and I keep myself clean, and to be honest I didn’t think much of it, but then my taste went and that’s when the nightmare started. I love food, of course, everyone loves food, but even mash potatoes tasted stale, like I was eating clay. But even clay has a taste – I assume – it really did feel like I was eating nothing.

This is when I decided to take myself down to the testing centre and was lucky enough that my friend Toby booked a test with me on it.

I’d just like to take a moment to say how privileged I feel to live in a country where a testing service like that is entirely free to an entire population, I know it might not be the best, but it’s totally free and I think sometimes the British forget just how lucky we are to have a system in place which takes care of us. That’s all I got out of the testing process itself.

That, and the fact I’ve only got one tonsil and the worst gag reflex, of all time. Seriously, truly atrocious.

I have, since that test, been isolating in my room, and I got a text on the 14th telling me that, surprise surprise, I had Covid.  

Final year Journalism student George Cowell says what the challenges were when dealing with covid at uni.

Whilst waiting for my test and as I write this, I felt and still do feel absolutely knackered. I feel tired all the time. I feel tired when I stand up, I feel tired when I brush my teeth, I feel tired when I lay on my bed and feel sorry for myself, I feel tired. It’s not great.

I also, and this one really is annoying – can’t breathe properly. I walk downstairs to get myself a socially distanced bowl of tasteless cereal, and I find myself out of breath.  I haven’t experienced this since I was a slightly tubby ten-year-old.

The FOMO (fear of missing out) is ridiculous, every night I can hear people partying and screaming in the houses down my road, which I know is bad, I’m not condoning it, but it drives me insane. Last night they played American Boy by Estelle and I hummed along as I started falling asleep at 10 o’clock, which is early.

I do consider myself to be, quite fit, not majorly fit, but fit enough. This virus has just taken away my drive, it’s not making me feel ridiculously ill, but it’s taken away my morale, my lust for life. It’s turned me from being a highly motivated third year, to a mopey, socially awkward fresher.

Frankly though, I do miss the pub. I want a pint, but I’m afraid if I had one right now, I just may fall asleep then and there at the pub table.

But if this virus is doing this to me, I wonder what it is doing to our elderly population, and then suddenly I don’t feel like complaining so much.

That’s just my experience though – I’d love to hear about yours. Please don’t hesitate to message us on any of our social media platforms about how you find Covid and what your symptoms were.

By George Cowell

All photos credit: George Cowell

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *