Posted in Journal, Uncategorized

What It’s REALLY Like to Have COVID-19

Personally, I am very cautious when it comes to getting COVID. I wear my mask, I wash my hands, I social distance when possible. I only hang out with a small group of people, I don’t like to party. Personally, I have been fortunate enough to stay healthy throughout the pandemic. However, a few weeks ago, I got a message from my best friend in Junior High and High School. She told me she had COVID. I Immediately freaked out. I had just read horror stories the day before of young, healthy people who had terrible cases. I almost cried, I told her I loved her and begged her to take care of herself. I knew that those stories I had read were just the extremes, meant to scare people into wearing a mask, but she was my best friend (still is). I was going to freak out. Later in the week, I asked her if she’d be interested in writing a post about her experience. A non-horror story. She said she’d love to. Here’s what she had to say about her experience:

“I woke up and I felt like I had been hit by a car. The night before I had convinced myself, I just have to run a few errands before class, and then after class, I could nap, but now that I was awake, the hardest part of the morning was getting out of bed. 

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But I made myself do it. I’m a college kid, and my grades are important, and to function through the week I need to get groceries, pick up my car from the dealership, and run various other errands before the week kicked off. Typical Monday morning. 

I only made it from the dealership that morning. My head was throbbing, and I had a horrible cough. The possibility of COVID lingered in the back of my mind, but I figured it was just the cold that had been making its way around my small college campus. I got ready for class and left my warm dorm room for the classroom where I spend the majority of my time. 

It was presentation day for my rhetoric class. I did my best to stay awake through my classmates’ presentations, but I couldn’t do it. I left early. I slept the rest of that day, missing my other class. It was miserable. I have a dry cough, and my head was pounding. My RA moved me to a quarantine room, that way my roommate wouldn’t get anything I had. 

The doctor saw me the next morning. They told me they were going to do a COVID test and I laughed. “I don’t think it’s covid. I think it’s just a cold.” I told the nurse. She said she hoped so, probably crossing her fingers behind her back. Fifteen minutes later, she told me I had tested positive for COVID-19. 

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Immediately my mind began to race. “WHO had I come in contact with that might have been sick? Where could I have gotten it from?” Then the horrible thoughts began to take over. I’ve been in contact with all my classmates. I’ve been hugging and hanging out with most of them. Who else is going to be sick? 

If the guilt of possibly getting others sick wasn’t enough, I was running a high fever, and my entire body ached. I was sick. I crawled back into my newly deemed prison and slept. I didn’t notice the fact I had missed three classes in a row, it didn’t really matter. 

Over the next couple of days, 7 of 22 students tested positive for COVID. All of us experienced different symptoms. I was drained. I would get up around 9:30 and need to sleep again at 11. I couldn’t function. My friend had coughs that wracked her entire body. Her entire frame would shake as she coughed. The worst symptom I experienced was muscle aches. I felt like the day before I had run a marathon. My legs ached, and my joints felt stretched. A friend gave me magnesium supplements to try and ease the pain, but not even pain medication helped ease my pain. 

Yes, the physical side effects were horrible, but mentally, being locked by myself was draining. I consider myself an introvert, so I didn’t mind a couple of days by myself, but as the week wore on, I wished I could have been with my close group of friends, making cookies, and driving to the park, inside of sitting in my room. Being alone for two weeks affected my mental health in ways I didn’t expect. 

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I was lucky to have a mild brush with COVID because I’m young and relatively in shape. I know many others who have not been as fortunate as I, and I’m grateful for that. I’m still recovering from Covid, and I encourage all the readers, wear a mask, and stay safe.”

Well, you heard (or read) what she said. Wear a mask, people! It’s an easy and proven way to protect yourself and others against COVID-19. Imagine yourself as a knight, and hand sanitizer is your sword, the mask is your shield. You’re very heroic.

Although my friend did have a pretty basic case, it still ruined her life for 2 weeks. I know I was worried constantly. Plus, she is a very healthy young person. If you’ve smoked or vaped, have asthma, are in generally poor health, or are up there in years, your chance of severity and fatality increases. This also applies to young children, so if you are often around little kids or have young siblings, PLEASE be safe for them! You’re not just responsible for yourself, but everyone around you.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay happy 🙂

Posted in college, Uncategorized

How to Study to Ace Your Finals (10 Steps)

Studying is the literal worst. I am a HUGE procrastinator, so actually sitting down and studying is nearly impossible. Unfortunately, in college, studying is key to passing your classes. To make it even better, final exams are coming up. How are you planning on studying? If you can just go over your notes, or read from your textbook, well, good for you! I definitely lack the perseverance (and the attention span) to do that. If you’re more like me, keep reading because I’m about to give you some great tips to help you ace your exams.

1. Start Early

Getting an early start to studying can really help you retain information in the long run. I don’t mean a few hours- I mean a few DAYS. This will give you time to fully process all the information that you’ll want to remember. Start studying approximately a week before your exam.

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2. Don’t Cram

I repeat: DO NOT CRAM!!! Cramming is one of the worst things you could possibly do for yourself. This goes along with starting early. Even if somehow your brain does process and remember all of the information you shoved in your brain, you’ll be mentally exhausted for your exam. Your brain needs time to remember things. Be kind to yourself.

3. Long Breaks

Don’t time yourself, it never works out. “5 more minutes” is easy to say, and can just as easily turn into an hour. Short breaks just don’t do it for me. They just add to my ability to get easily distracted. Give yourself 1 activity (ie. watching a single episode of a show- not a show you usually binge) and stick to it. If I’m watching a show, it’s much harder to say “30 more minutes” to watch another episode.

Keep in mind, this may not work for everyone. I like long breaks because it feels like an actual break and gives my mind some time to relax. Short breaks just give me enough time to realize how tired my brain is before getting back to work.

4. Remove ALL Distractions

Yes, including your phone. Make sure you house/roommates know that you’re studying and will be needing some quiet. Turn off the tv, and don’t listen to music with lyrics. I find video game soundtracks give studying a cool vibe. Be sure that the area that you are studying in is cleaned off and free of anything you don’t need to study. But seriously, turn off your phone and put it in a drawer.

5. Take Care of Your Needs Prior to Studying

Eat a snack. Drink some water. Pee. Get the AC to your liking. This way, you won’t keep interrupting your studying to get up to do things.

6. Organize Your Notes

Your notes matter a lot. Not only does writing something down help you remember it better, but it also gives you something to look over. They should be legible, organized, maybe even color coded. You can add a pop of color and highlight important information in your notes with different styles of sticky notes. I love this set because of all the different styles and uses it has. Also, I just love sticky notes. The best way to take good notes is to pretend like you are taking notes for someone else. You want them to be easy to read, and easy to get information from.

Tip: Long paragraphs/sentences are harder for your brain to focus on. Keep your words, sentences, and paragraphs short for easier reading.

7. Watch Videos

Watching videos on a topic or subject can really help you retain information. Youtube is a great platform, it has videos on everything. I personally like taking notes on videos because I can pause it to give me time to take nice notes. You can also rewatch things that don’t make sense.

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8. Use the Review

Not the review. ANYTHING but the review. I get it. It’s long. Boring. You’re pretty sure the professor didn’t even teach you this stuff. But it is the easiest way to know what the test will be like. And if you’ll do well on it. Which is kinda the point. Plus, your poor professor put all that time and effort into writing all 500 pages of the review. Or was it 5? It felt like a lot more.

9. Tutoring

There, I said it. If you’re really struggling with a subject or certain material, most schools have some sort of free tutoring. It may be over Zoom at the moment because of the pandemic, but it’s better than nothing. I speak from experience when I tell you that it is actually helpful 90% of the time.

10. Set Achievable Goals

If you’re like me and have test anxiety, trying to remember every single little detail about a subject can be your downfall. Don’t try to remember everything. You’ll exhaust yourself and ultimately, waste time.

Now go, absorb knowledge so that you can forget it after you take your exam. Let me know in the comments if you have any studying hacks that I didn’t list on here. I believe in you, work hard and you will pass!

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