Love in the Time of Covid: John Hultenius and Sarah Speegle

Love in the Time of Covid: John Hultenius and Sarah Speegle

Evan Robinson, Maroon-News Staff

When one really loves someone, it often feels like nothing can keep them apart. This is 2020, though, and if there’s anything that can keep two lovers apart or stop a budding romance in its tracks, it’s everyone’s favorite virus, COVID-19. 

Goodbye, hand-holding, passionate kissing and romantic dinner dates. Hello, elbow bumps, smiling with your eyes and the sweet, sweet smell of hand sanitizer. Before you all get down in the dumps and stop writing that love letter, remember that despite the fact that we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, we are all human, and nothing can arrest the human desire for companionship. COVID-19 makes dating tough, but not impossible. To all the pessimists out there, love is not dead!

No one knows this better than junior John Hultenius, a music concentrator from Delhi, New York. A little over two months after meeting through a mutual friend in October of last year, Hultenius and his now-girlfriend, junior Sarah Speegle, started to date. Since then, their relationship has only grown stronger. They spent countless hours together in the final weeks before Colgate was forced to send students home to complete the spring semester remotely. 

When asked how he and his girlfriend took the news, Hultenius said that they were both able to stay positive.

“When it all started, we both thought that it would be a short amount of time, but as the weeks dragged on, we knew that we might have to stay apart for longer. We don’t live too far away from each other — only around two and a half hours — which helped us stay hopeful that … things would start to work themselves out. Luckily, they did.”

Hultenius and Speegle were able to see each other, eventually, but under a cloud of new restrictions that all Colgate students, couples and singles alike, are learning to adapt to. Despite these restrictions and the doom and gloom of life during COVID-19, Hultenius remains adamant that there are plenty of silver linings to be found. 

“I think it [COVID-19] makes you appreciate the time that you have to spend with people,” Hultenius said. “I know for me and my girlfriend, not being able to see each other for two months really made when we were able to see each other again just all the more special.”

Now that they are back on campus, the couple is making the best out of a less-than-ideal situation. 

“Doing work has become a really nice way of spending time together. It’s not anything super intimate, but it’s just nice to just know that she’s there with me and I’m near her — it’s just so comforting,” Hultenius said. “All the times we’ve eaten together, I feel really close to her because I can see her face without her mask on. Being able to see her smile and communicate with her non-verbally is just so awesome.”