Students Experience with COVID-19

By Ashley Vite

UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State student Christian Evans was excited to be returning to his apartment in State College. On Jan. 17, 2021 after the extended holiday break Evans returned to State College.

His first day back was spent catching up with his roommates and hanging out at his apartment, but little did he know, he wouldn’t be there long.

Soon after, Evans tested positive for COVID.

Evans was one of the 5,000 students this school year to contract COVID. He tells his story by sharing his experience and the struggles he faced.

On Jan. 18, 2021 he had felt uneasy, he woke up and made eggs, bacon, and toast but realized he could not smell or taste his food. He went and got tested immediately after eating.

Without having his test results back yet he knew he most likely had Covid-19 since he lost his taste and smell. He started preparing for quarantine by packing his bags to return home.

He warned his roommates, neighbors, family, and everyone he came into contact with previously, that he most likely had COVID-19.

Evans lives in the Greater Philadelphia area which is about three hours from State College. His roommates were also uncomfortable with the thought of him staying in the apartment.

“I was upset because I had just returned back and had to leave,” Evans said. “My roommates didn’t want me at the apartment but I also did not want to risk getting my family sick.”

Evans roommate Emmanuel Garzo did not feel comfortable with him staying in the apartment.

“I was nervous that we would all get sick and it being the first week back I really wanted to focus on my classes,” Garzo said.

After returning home he had gotten positive test results. At this point he wasn’t surprised about the results. Beforehand he was surprised that he got it because he didn’t feel any symptoms until he lost his taste and smell. Evans believes he might have got it when he was visiting Colorado just a week before.

Evans stayed in his bedroom, he avoided all contact with his family and friends. His parents would bring meals to his door.

Isolating himself was difficult, and he tried to keep himself occupied as much as possible. He took walks everyday just to get some fresh air after being stuck in his room. He also did workouts in his bedroom that helped him feel more motivated while doing his classes.

“I felt isolated because I could not be around my family or friends, which was hard,” he said.

He had no idea how long he would not have his taste and smell. But, he said, he was nervous because he had heard that others didn’t get their taste or smell back for a couple of months.

Evans friend Matt Hartenstein was shocked he didn’t get sick.

“I was hanging out with Christian before he had found out he had Covid, I was surprised that I never got sick,” Hartenstein said.

Evans had only lost his taste for about three to four days and his smell for about a week.

Evans said he felt supported by the university throughout his experience with COVID-19. During his isolation, he had someone from health services call him every other day to check on him.

Now, Evans is feeling a lot better. It has been two weeks since he first got sick and he feels like himself again.

He took another test to make sure he was negative before returning back to his apartment.

“My main priority was to do my part by quarantining and making sure I did not pass the virus onto anyone else,” he said.