Skip to main content

Alum who battled COVID-19 at 22 offers advice to students

July 21, 2020 By Chelsea Hylton

Amy Shircel gets frustrated when she sees trending photos on social media of lines at bars in Madison wrapping around the corner.

Her advice to students who are not being safe is simple: “It’s not worth it.”

Amy Shircel

Amy Shircel

Shircel, who graduated in June, learned firsthand just how aggressive COVID-19 can be after contracting the disease after a spring break trip to Portugal in early March.

Shircel suffered fevers of over 100 degrees, body aches, and chills. She struggled to take care of herself properly.

“It was really bad. Like, I was so sick that I like didn’t really have the energy, the strength to like, even go fill up my water bottle and things like that,” she said.

Today, Shircel is feeling better and working remotely for Tiny Earth, which is a part of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery and the UW-Extension Local Government Center. She is also studying for the LSAT, which she plans on taking later in August.

She thinks back to those moments when she sees and hears about students in Madison acting as if the virus is not a pandemic.

Wearing a face mask, maintaining physical distance of six feet, and being smart about non-essential travel is crucial for limiting your chances of catching the virus, medical experts say.

“”As much as we are all tired of being locked up and having our lives completely changed we have to remember that following those health guidelines not only benefit our lives but also the lives of other people,” she said.

After Shircel tested positive for COVID-19 she went into quarantine to avoid infecting others, and her two roommates traveled home. That left Shircel completely alone to battle the virus, and she struggled to even take care of herself.

After finally traveling to her family home in Kenosha, Wis., she began to get better day by day. She started gaining strength and feeling more optimistic. While at home she remained confined to her room to limit exposing her family to the virus. She recovered after several weeks.

She got sick at the beginning of the virus outbreak and by the time she got better, the virus seemed to be peaking.

“Yeah, I think when I had it, it was just so new, like people were shocked and couldn’t believe a 22-year-old got so sick.”

Shircel turned to Twitter to share her story. Her thread went viral and her story was picked up in a number of publications. She wanted people to know how serious the virus is and how important it is to be smart.

She realizes that if people continue to be careless that the virus will only continue to grow.

“I think it’s so ridiculous that first of all, people are putting their health at risk. It’s just selfish. Like, it’s not even about you at this point. It’s about everyone else in your community, and your family and your friends that you are putting at risk just because you want to go to a bar without a mask.”

Tags: student life