Introduction to Quarantine
By the seventh week of my spring semester, COVID-19 became a known yet unfamiliar term in my vocabulary. Within the NESCAC, Hamilton and two other schools had not yet sent their students home, but after advisory protocol from the State of New York, that all changed. I returned home to Philadelphia which is typically lively when the weather becomes warmer. However, the city was a ghost town in March. I would look out my window and see a street full of emptiness and sorrow.
After Hamilton decided to move online, the transition was difficult for me. In a matter of two weeks, my interactions with the physical world became the past and the virtual world became the present. I would wake up, participate in my classes through zoom to the best of my ability and then fill in the rest of the day with books, video games, and TV. After a short amount of time, I lost much of the motivation I had at the start of the semester. Hamilton announced that all of our classes would be universal pass/fail, and so, attendance became optional. I felt lazy, but I also felt relieved as the World was in a state of crisis, and school responsibilities could only make things worse.
Living with my mother and brother, family was the only physical connection in the World. Everyday, I would eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and we would usually watch a film or series weekly. We would order takeout once a week, and for my birthday, we baked a cake. It was a nice way of bonding. The virtual connection to my friends was also easy to sustain. Through platforms like xbox, instagram, and facetime, I would regularly communicate with my friends. It was hard not being able to see them, but at the very least it was nice to hear them doing well.
Once the CDC advised that social distance and mask wearing would allow me to see people, I began going on walks, having coffee, and going on runs with others. It wasn’t ideal, but this was the new world I inhabited. Although the majority of the planet is still combatting COVID, my life in Philadelphia is starting to become somewhat normal. Being vaccinated, I can go out to a bar, have a friend over, and walk outside without a mask. The next journey is one where I navigate life post COVID-19.