Students Share COVID-19 Experiences — Not Germs

Health care professionals fill out forms and prepare to swab a drive-up for COVID-19 at a free event. Photo by James Potts/The Jambar

By C. Aileen Blaine

As COVID-19 case numbers increase, students at Youngstown State University are asked to be on alert for the signs and symptoms of the disease. Several students at YSU share their experiences, ranging from symptoms to testing to quarantine. 

For Conor Murphy, a sophomore in hospitality management, symptoms began with a headache. Within a few days, his fever reached 101.4 degrees, and he was so dizzy he had trouble standing. At the suggestion of his parents, he went to the Mercy Health clinic on Wick Avenue to get tested. 

“Honestly, I went in nervous,” Murphy said. “When I actually did [the test], it didn’t really feel that bad. Like, it was over real quick, and it didn’t really hurt.”

It took five days for his results to come back, and he quarantined during the wait. When his results came back positive, he and his parents were forced to quarantine for nearly two weeks. He passed the time watching sports games and thinking about seeing his friends again.

Murphy said the experience “sucked,” and he currently sees the nonchalant attitude some individuals take toward the severity of the virus.

“You can’t make people do something they don’t want to do,” Murphy said. “I don’t know — I’m not a scientist — but if the scientists say the mask works, then I’ll wear it, because I’d rather be wrong about the cloth over my mouth than not wear it and be wrong and get other people sick.”

Sabrina Wallace, a senior in social work, works in an emergency room around children. When she began experiencing chest tightness, she decided to get tested for COVID-19 as a precautionary measure. Despite her negative test result, she had to quarantine for a week as a safety measure. She spent the time alone in her apartment, completing homework assignments and watching television.

Health care professionals fill out forms and prepare to swab a drive-up for COVID-19 at a free event. Photo by James Potts/The Jambar

“The first two days weren’t so bad, but by the end of the week, I was ready to be out,” Wallace said. 

Ali Alaryan is an international student from Kuwait and a chemical engineering senior. After the spring semester, the Kuwait government sent students home on rapid flights because of the United States’ position as a hot spot in COVID-19 cases. Upon arrival in Kuwait, he tested negative, but was still required to quarantine for 28 days to ensure there was no delayed onset of symptoms. 

“When we got to Kuwait, we got tested, and they put a bracelet to track our location and be sure that we don’t get out of the home quarantine,” Alaryan said. “If we get out of the circle location, it will notify the police and they will be there, in a minute or two.”

Before his arrival home, the government required every family with a returning student to prepare a separate room with all necessities inside. Meals were placed in plastic containers to be thrown out rather than cleaned. Alaryan spent the time exercising, playing video games and watching the street from his bedroom window.

“The first week or five days, they’re the hardest just to get in, and preparing for mentally to be in that room for 28 days,” he said. “But that wasn’t really bad. I didn’t expect that it would be not that bad.”

Alaryan offered advice for those who may currently be in quarantine.

“There are a lot of things to do at home for fun, so you don’t have to go out,” he said. “Don’t be selfish … Don’t even think about yourself. Think about someone that you love.”