Stacey Olson.JPG

It was March 25, 2020, I was lying in bed and woke up to a bombardment of notifications on my phone from Dad, Ryan, Cole, Residential Life, my professors and more. Mildly anxious, I open my email from Residential Life wondering if someone died. Due to COVID-19, a stay-at-home order had been mandated and Residential Life students needed to move out as soon as possible. 

Shell shock enveloped me and it was as if all the air had been sucked out of the room. Where would I go? All I could hear was the over analyzation of the situation in my head. I was scared to go home to my father because I didn’t want to potentially infect him given his health concerns. I couldn’t risk going home to my mother's because she and her fiance work in the medical field and I couldn’t risk infecting myself given my health issues. Where to go, who do I call?

I was spiraling, curled into a ball bawling, scared for what was to come. After pulling my mind from the lonely abyss of my panic, I checked the rest of my notifications. A friend’s girlfriend offered to let me stay with her. A sense of coolness washed over me. A solution I could live with. So just like that, we started planning and moving forward. 

Those couple days were such a whirlwind but the thing I remember most was the feeling of helplessness and inadequacy. For most of my life, I’d been the one people would rely on and come to, yet in my greatest time of need I couldn’t help myself. I was exhausted from the mental and emotional gymnastics I’d put myself through. 

My newfound roommates and I went to Walmart, picking up groceries and other necessities. My body was heavy and tired, the off-white fluorescent lights were aggravating my already irritated eyes, as we walked into the paper aisle to grab more paper towels and toilet paper. At this point, I combusted in manic laughter, the absurdity of it all. In the last 24 hours, I’d been laid off, told to move out of the dorms, moved into a new apartment with essentially strangers and given a reality check about the seriousness of COVID-19.

The next month was absolute hell. While I found comfort in sweet, fleeting moments, I also endured a massive amount of stress that landed me in an impromptu visit to the cardiologist. All the chaos had inflamed my heart issues. It took months to fully recover and in some ways, I’m not sure I ever did. Long story short, COVID-19 kicked my ass without even infecting me. 

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