A Student Body Grows Wary of COVID Testing

By Kelvin Nuñez

Hamilton College freshman

Testing, 1, 2, 3.  Testing, 1, 2, 3.

No, I’m not dropping the mic.  And no, I’m not talking about a freshman’s sweaty palms before taking a Psychology 101 test. This is an account of  the anxiety and stress college students face while undergoing an endless series of tests for COVID-19. 

Because the virus – an invisible enemy — is so widespread, some students would rather hunker down and not leave their room at all. 

Will today be the day that my luck runs out? Will I have to enter the hellish 14-day quarantine?  PHOTO COURTESY OF Kelvin Nuñez

Here at Hamilton College in New York, students and faculty members admit they are wary of testing despite a small number of reported COVID-19 cases on campus. 

Fear and wild imaginations can run rampant while waiting in the line for yet another test. 

With as many as three tests a week, students were able to remain on campus during the winter semester. Kelvin Nuñez

Self-quarantine is hell. Some of my collegiate friends who endured this self-isolation said it is scary and mentally exhausting.  

The apprehension around testing was how my first semester ended.

Even with a mere 10 reported COVID-19 cases in a student body of 1,924 students, testing went from two to three times a week.  It really took a mental toll on all of us.

So, the holiday break was a time to regroup.  For me, it meant rediscovering myself in a stress-free environment. 

I had lost perspective after juggling assignments and priorities. I had forgotten that I was more than a student; more than a son who was trying to make his immigrant parents proud.

Better cafeteria offerings as a result of mild protests made life a bit more tolerable during an endless string of COVID-19 tests. Kelvin Nuñez

The time off led to deep self-reflection.  In the meantime, my campus community had made strides as well. 

Returning for my second semester was much easier. Knowing what to expect as well as having the time to mentally prepare made life a bit easier.

What was also encouraging was that the school heard our complaints and acted.  The food was better, and an attempt was made to add events to better accommodate first-year students. 

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