Lessons learned: One student’s experience with COVID-19

Daphne Conner, a junior from Bowling Green, had a positive test result for the coronavirus come back in June after attending a birthday gathering for a friend. “It was kind of stressful having the virus,” said Conner, “to just be locked between four walls and not see any of my peers or hear their voices [while quarantining].”

Maggie Thornton

Getting diagnosed with COVID-19 taught a WKU student a valuable lesson. Daphne Conner is a sophomore from Bowling Green studying entrepreneurship. Over the summer, Conner contracted the coronavirus.

“It’s easy to just see Bowling Green as

a college town, but it’s a community for people of all ages, older and younger, so

it’s important to just be smart and think about the families it could affect, not just yourself and your friends,” Conner said.

Conner said she attended a gathering to celebrate a friend’s birthday in June. A few days later, she found out that two people who attended experienced symptoms but attended the gathering any- way. She and her friends began panicking and decided they had to get tested. Conner thought her allergies were just acting up from seasons’ changing, and if she hadn’t found out she was ex- posed, she would have continued with her life as normal. As soon as she found out she could have been exposed, she knew what she had to do. She called her boss and went to Graves Gilbert Clinic.

Once she received her positive results, she contacted everyone she had been around to make sure they knew. It was the day before Father’s Day when she received the results, and she originally had plans to go home to see her dad and grandpa.

“It was sad,” Conner said. “I missed out on important family time, but there was no one else to blame but myself. I’m glad I found out in time because I would’ve hated myself if I had seen my grandpa and exposed him.”

Conner said just walking up the stairs or taking her dog outside took her breath away. Her symptoms were similar to having severe allergies, but she knows that it could have been much worse. She said she was lucky to have mild symptoms.

Conner still has not regained her sense of smell.

“It sucked,” Conner said. “I felt terrible, and I had to miss out on a few weeks of work, which means I didn’t have pay during that time either.”

The health department sent Conner a survey every day to keep track of her symptoms. Once she went 48 hours without any, she was able to go back to work. Conner has paid more attention to her body and her symptoms since then, which she thinks is important for everyone to do.

Conner said she has been encouraging all of her friends to get tested — even if they only feel one or two symptoms — so they can keep themselves and those around them safe. One of her friends recently experienced pain in his throat and felt sick, so she told him he has to get tested and take it seriously because it comes at no cost to anyone.

Conner said that if she could go back and change anything she wouldn’t have hung out with all of the people she did over the summer and she would have been smarter. She said that since her experience with the coronavirus, she has been much more mindful about all of the necessary precautions.

She has been on campus twice since school started, and both times she said she saw many students walking around with no mask and standing close together. Conner said she wishes people would be distant in public spaces and wear their mask so they can avoid the experience she had and protect those around them.

“While it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to listen and stop having gatherings, the least students can do is wear their masks at all times in public and be aware of how they act in shared public spaces,” Conner said. “Just cover your face, keep your distance and be respectful of others around you.”

Maggie Thornton can be reached at [email protected]