My rocky start to the spring semester

Written By Maegan Fewell, Staff Writer

Going into the third week back to school, I feel like everyone has had a completely different experience returning for this semester. As I articulated mine into words from the Toronto airport floor, I thought this might be a laugh to read, maybe a cry for sympathy, but mainly just something interesting for me to write on my 5-hour layover. You are probably thinking, “Maegan, why are you still in Canada? School started three weeks ago.” Great question. Let’s start at the end of winter break.

Everything was going well. I spent most of my break sleeping, playing with my two Goldendoodles and telling my parents and friends about all of the drama from school that had built up over three months. However, when I first came back home to Western Canada from break, I was sick for weeks. I can’t even describe what sort of illness it was initially, but this is why I wanted to sleep so much when I was home. (Unfortunately, after all of this rest, I am still exhausted and don’t feel recharged.) About a week before school started back, I was feeling a bit better and decided to get my booster shot. A few hours later, I was so very sick, the sickest I have ever been and was delirious in bed with fever and chills. I was freezing even though I was under covers with tons of clothes on. I honestly had no idea what was happening. It was a bit of a blur. (Fortunately, I was at home where my mom could take care of and spoil me.)

Soon after, my fever had broken, and I had thought that the worst of the side effects were over. I felt that this was all related to my booster shot and would be completely fine. As I approached my time to return to school, I was required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test each time I crossed the border because I was in Canada. So, two days before my flight back to Pittsburgh, my most dreaded thought came true. I tested positive for COVID-19. Now, this perfectly explains my severe side effects to the booster shot. Little did I know that I had the virus in my body that the booster combats. So when it recognized it, I was incredibly sick.

Stuck in Canada, I was required to isolate myself for 10 days, move my flights and rearrange everything I had planned to return. I quarantined in my family house and banished myself to my bedroom to not spread the virus to my parents. Feeling completely isolated and like I was missing out on all the fun from the first week of school, I was a mess and so desperately wanted to be back with everyone.

I have nine courses this semester (and no, this wasn’t my choice) so that meant emailing nine different professors each time there was an update for why I couldn’t come to class. Although all of my professors and the student health center were so kind and incredibly understanding of my situation, I was still very frustrated and felt like I was falling behind everyone else. To make matters worse, because I had been sick for most of my break, I have not trained as hard or stayed in shape as much as I wanted.

So, I completed my assignments and participated virtually in classes for the 10 days of my isolation, mostly from my bed, still sick. Once I was cleared and tested negative for COVID-19 but still had to isolate, I ventured out into our home’s living room, which has a very Canadian aesthetic. It has log cabin walls, deer antlers adorned everywhere and red bear blankets on the couch. It’s also very dark and makes you feel like you’re in some kind of James Bond hideout in the middle of Siberia. Nonetheless, it was the only space I had, so my background for Microsoft Teams classes while I was dancing must have been very interesting for my teachers, I’m sure.

Fast forward 10 days later: I’m thrilled to be back at school, starting to feel better, and can’t wait to see my friends who I hadn’t seen in more than five weeks. Then, the snowstorm happened, which seemed to hit everywhere? I don’t know how that happened, but a storm in Calgary, Western Canada hit the same night as the winter storm hit the East Coast. So, my flights from Calgary to Pittsburgh were canceled. (Why did the universe not want me back in Pittsburgh? Agh!!). Although my flights were only delayed one extra day (to Wednesday the 19th), I was still so frustrated and had to email all nine teachers again and let them know I was missing yet another day of school. In all actuality, I haven’t missed as much school as I thought I had, because of weekends, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, etc. But in my mind, it felt like I haven’t been in Pittsburgh for months.

So, here I was, finally on my way back to Point Park University, supposedly arriving at 9 p.m. Then, 10 minutes before I boarded my flight to Pittsburgh, the agent announced that the flight was canceled and that no more flights were going out that evening. I wanted to scream. I spent the next few hours in line to talk to Air Canada about rebooking a flight and must have done laps around the airport, trying to find out where my checked bag was. Air Canada put me in a Holiday Inn for the night in the middle of nowhere in Toronto. I slept for a few hours before getting back up and heading to the airport again.

The following day around 4 a.m., I was back in the terminal. I never wanted to arrive at a destination so badly. I crossed through the U.S. border for a second time and was again waiting to board my rebooked flight to Pittsburgh via Washington D.C. And yes, that one got canceled too. The airline’s ridiculous explanation was that the plane was frozen and couldn’t take off.

At this point, I was almost beside myself with stress and frustration. However, an angel of a flight agent took pity on me and got me on a different flight to Pittsburgh, via Newark. My flights to Newark and Pittsburgh did take off, and I finally arrived in Pittsburgh late Thursday night.

Although this sounds like a lot of complaining from my end, I don’t mean to sound like that. If you take anything away from this piece at all, please do not get COVID-19. Even as a very healthy, 19-year-old girl plus the double vaccines (not to mention booster), I was so incredibly sick and could not get out of bed most days. Trust me; you do not want it. It is 100% no joke. Please be careful and follow all public health measures. This Omicron variant is no picnic.

However, what has been a little bit of solace for me was that I was not alone in my sickness and absence from school. I knew several people that also contracted COVID last week and had to isolate for as long as I did. I feel that Point Park may only get more active cases within the coming weeks.

If you have already had COVID-19, or have it right now, I am very sorry, and I hope you don’t have as tough of a time as I did. On a happier note, I am thrilled to be going back to school and have genuinely missed Point Park. Although I am a little worried about what will happen as the semester goes on, I am happy I can be present and in person and get back to what I love to do every day. Let’s hope this will be the last bump in the road for a while, and divine intervention works for me, not against me.