The year 2020 has been far from typical. From the political face of the United States being a former reality TV star to devastating wildfires to the whole world being on pause, our perception of normalcy is certainly skewed.
If you would have told me a year ago that my sophomore year would be introduced with a ten-day period of isolation in my 632 square foot McGloin dorm, I would have brushed it off as insanity.
Before 2020, quarantine wasn’t even a word in my vocabulary. My only concept of quarantine was Disney’s hailed film “Tangled,” where Rapunzel romanticizes the simplicity of a life locked away.
I am here to tell you that while there is nothing glamorous about confinement, it just may give you the perspective you were missing.
I, along with my three roommates, tested positive for the coronavirus a mere seven days after arriving at Creighton. We unanimously agreed to follow protocol and get tested after being exposed to someone was positive. My gut told me my number was up, so when we got the call saying we were COVID-19 positive, it was a bit anticlimactic. Nonetheless, it was full steam ahead and time to tackle the dreaded isolation.
As per Creighton’s policy, we were required to complete 10 days of isolation since exposure. For those 10 days, no one was to come in or out of room. Our only glance to the outside world was through our window.
Fortunately for my roommates and I, our symptoms were extremely mild — nothing more adverse than a bad cold. My most notable symptom was the loss of smell and taste. It didn’t matter what liquid I was consuming, everything tasted like water or slightly thicker water. You don’t realize what a pertinent part of your day food is until everything tastes like diluted vinegar.
After receiving that fateful call, our first order of business was to inform our professors that we would be out of commission for the foreseeable future.
Thanks to the hybrid model of classes, adapting to entirely online classes wasn’t too challenging.
A few emails later, and we were all set to be remote.
Our real challenge was in maximizing our small space. Although our dorm is complete with two bedrooms, a common space and a bathroom, at times there were just too many cooks in the kitchen.
We had to be vocal about expressing our need for space, silence or even companionship during this alienating time. Room 125 became our lifeline; a classroom, bedroom, gym, dining hall and leisure space all in one.
Though our days were consumed by Zoom calls and homework, we did have one thing to look forward to: the 5:30 pm food delivery.
To be honest, I have never particularly revered Brandeis, but those brown bags arriving at our door was the most thrilling part of our day.
I may not have consumed a single vegetable in those 10 days, but I did stomach enough tasteless chips to last a lifetime.
Although I am now free from quarantine and can differentiate between water and Gatorade, parts of COVID-19 will stay with me forever.
Through this process, I learned that life hinges almost entirely on your attitude. When surrounded by the right people, you can make the most of even the grimmest of situations.