Op-Ed: I Missed My COVID Test and Then Got Sent to a Gulag

A few days ago, I got an email saying that COVID testing was about to get “more strict”. That there would be “severe consequences” for people who missed their tests. But hey, I accidentally slept through my 3 PM testing slot after 7 straight months of a nocturnal sleeping schedule, which I thought qualified as one of the vaguely defined “valid excuses”.  And that brings me to now. It’s cold. I’m hungry. And after missing my COVID test, I was whisked away to a gulag. 

There are some pros and cons. I finally met Provost Kotlikoff, and I really didn’t know what he did or who he was, but it all makes sense now that I know he has his hands full running this place. They set us up in the West Campus Gothics to teach us character. I’m allowed two meals a day exclusively from Okenshields.

Now, I spend my days toiling for Cornell 1920’s-Soviet-Union style. I’m either revamping North Campus dorms or starting construction work in the heart of Collegetown that simultaneously never makes progress but inconveniences every pedestrian. And I feel honored that I got the chance to remodel President Pollack’s home. It was a huge relief because she couldn’t afford paid labor anymore when the COVID aftermath cut her salary from $600,000 a year to $590,000. Man, if I knew how much it was terribly impacting people like that, I at least would’ve set an alarm for my COVID test. 

I’ve been etching the days that have passed with an old rock into my bedroom wall. I’ve since lost track of how long it’ll be until I get sent from my crumbling West Campus dorm to my bug-infested apartment and switch from eating free shitty Cornell Dining food to $20, but slightly less shitty, Collegetown food.

With my newfound hand calluses, a renown work ethic, and a sense of emotional numbness I didn’t know I was capable of reaching, I am ready to enter back into the world. And the staff has been helpful with the transition. They even suggested we all change our watches to military time. I already have my reminder set for 03:00 tomorrow, and I’m glad this won’t ever happen again. 

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