Millikin has 20 cases and counting by the time of this publication. That means 20 of us have received devastating news: you have coronavirus.
It’s scary. And it feels awful, whether you feel sick or not. There’s a disappointment for the several weeks you just lost due to isolation, regret for taking the risk to come to campus, and even guilt. You’ve probably blamed yourself for the diagnosis and felt scared that you could have given it to someone else.
But coronavirus is not your fault. You are not a bad person for getting it.
We know that COVID-19 is extremely difficult to avoid. You, like everyone else on the planet, also have no natural immunities to it. It took just a few viral particles to infect you. Chances are, you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time: in the path of a microbe that you couldn’t even see.
It’s not fair to you that you are sick.
But you might be thinking, “Yeah, but I went to a party. That’s where I got it.”
We’re not saying that all students who tested positive went to parties–in fact, many were just inside their dorm rooms–but if you did go to a party when people told you not to, then it was a mistake. A mistake. It wasn’t a permanent mark on your character.
If you go to Millikin, chances are that you are under the age of 25. Your brain is still changing. You are still forming your character.
Making a mistake, failing, and learning from that mistake are what builds your character.
Falling down, struggling, and getting back up again are what makes you capable of understanding what other people go through, too.
Nelson Mandela went to prison, then became the President and ended apartheid.
Winston Churchill led Great Britain to the worst defeat in history in WWI, then helped save the world in WWII.
Franklin D. Roosevelt had polio and then became the President and ended the Great Depression.
You are going to become stronger after coronavirus.
But it sucks. It really does suck.
The unfair part? Most people our age encounter obstacles and Millikin doesn’t broadcast it. As soon as you were diagnosed, you got put on a tally chart. People might not have known your names right away (and they still might not know your name), but people have already made judgments about “what you did to get it.”
Some people are vilifying you. They are judging you based on no knowledge about who you are.
But there are also people who understand: you got a virus. It could have happened to anybody. You are not a bad person, you are a victim.
It’s hard for people to reach out to you and tell you that things are going to be okay, right now. Usually, at Millikin, you can receive a reassuring pat on the shoulder if you are feeling down. You can see a smiling face walking down the sidewalk, reminding you that you–by being who you are–make people smile.
If we could be there to tell you, we would.
You are a good person even if you have coronavirus. You are going to make the world a better place, someday. We need that, and we’re looking forward to that.
Until then, get well soon.
– The Decaturian Staff