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  • Writer's pictureBehind the Mask

Into the Eye of the Storm — California

Our coronavirus story begins at Stanford University in March; the virus had been spreading already since January but at this point universities finally started taking it into account. Stanford decided to send home most of its students at the time when New York (my destination) was the hot spot in the US for the virus. The university allowed a select few to stay on campus according to need; while I was not approved to stay on campus, my girlfriend Ky was as she is immunocompromised. I ended up staying with her in her dorm room as we finished the rest of the year online.

It’s been strange to have graduated during such a turbulent time period. I never would have imagined that my graduation would be watched through a TV, or that my diploma would be mailed to my home rather than handed to me with a handshake. It’s been hard to get used to the idea of full time work without a marker event like graduation; I still almost feel like I’ll be going back to Stanford in late September. Instead I will be starting as an Engineering Analyst for Goldman Sachs in New York City, working from home until further notice.

After having packed up our things, Ky and I embarked on our journey to NYC with two cats, a dog and a ball python on board of a Hertz van with most of our belongings. We traveled across the country for almost 2 weeks, sleeping on the mattress that we were able to comfortably fit in the van and parking wherever our hearts desired. We stopped through the Utah Salt Flats, Moab, Boulder and several other natural landmarks along the way, often sleeping in state parks under the stars. We noticed that everywhere else that we passed through no one was taking the pandemic seriously, particularly in the smaller towns, so it wasn’t surprising when the rest of the US began spiking in the beginning of the summer. However, we were very careful throughout the trip, and managed to arrive to NY with negative test results.

We are now moving into our apartments in the city, where Ky will be continuing her studies remotely and I will be starting work in about a week. It’s been quite a ride, but we’ve been lucky throughout it to not have had any complications!

— Rick Melucci & Ky Cagan, 22 & 21

Stanford, California


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