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OP-ED: Daily COVID Testing Is the Only Love I Need


Photo by Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0

Quarantine. PennOpenPass. PB&J with three slices of bread. Us returning students are all too familiar with Penn's home away from home welcome wagon. We are all going through similar motions of the ocean, bonded by this unforgettably disastrous experience. And yet, I still miss those physical college interactions. You know the ones where I would be brushing my teeth while someone else was peeing in the urinal next to me. I felt lonely and isolated. I craved the human touch. 

I realized that the only time that I had more than a one-word conversation with someone was at the COVID testing site. Ditching the twice testing recommendation, I take daily trips to Houston Hall for the attention my mother never gave me. I use a different mask and wait until the nursing students change shift so as to not raise any suspicion. To make it easier on them, I even take my own pen now. 

Going to the Hall of Flags every day makes me feel cared for. They want to know how I'm feeling, where I'm from, and my permanent address. They even go so far as to take my temperature – that's true love if you ask me. 

My daily appointments at the testing site are the motivation I need to wake up in the morning. It makes my heart flutter knowing that someone cares enough to stick a Q-tip ten inches up my nose. Those thirty seconds where my eyes water and my brain is on fire, are complete and utter bliss. It's that long walk back to the dorms that I dread. The only thing waiting for me is the moldy pretzel I received in my prepackaged meal bag. 

But then, I remember tomorrow is another day. Another day where someone wants to know my sex, my PennID number, my ethnic background. Tomorrow is another day where I will be looked after, where I will be loved.