It all started last week on October 16, the day before Homecoming.
I was on my way to help distribute the Homecoming issue for the Optimist, and I had plans to work on group projects and hang out with my friends a few hours later.
Like I usually do, I checked my emails to see if I had heard back from any potential sources for my articles, plus start some preliminary research on an interview I would conduct in a couple of days.
As I refreshed my inbox, I received an email with the subject of “Required to quarantine- the next steps.”
When I read that, it felt as if time froze. This email came when cases were spiking across campus, but I tried my best to follow all the guidelines placed by the CDC and the university.
So at first, I was surprised that I was receiving this email in the first place. But then another feeling came rushing in, disappointment.
Due to my exposure to COVID-19 a few days earlier, I had to quarantine during one of the busiest times of my semester. One that also has the most opportunities for me. I would not be able to conduct the interview that I was researching for, and I would not be able to cover the ACU/Stephen F. Austin football game, which I had been looking forward to for months.
As I rushed away from campus and started packing for quarantining at home, I had this feeling of frustration. I let my guard down for a very short time, which was when I was exposed, which would cost me things I had been looking forward to all semester. And that was when the sadness came rushing in.
Around that time, I received a call from my care coordinator. She called to make sure that I received the email and let me know my quarantine’s finer details, like filling out a symptom form daily. But she also called to give me emotional support.
She recognized how hard it is to drop everything and isolate yourself from people for 14 days, so she was there to help and encourage me in whatever way she could. She spoke life into me, and that was what I needed the most at that moment.
After I got off the phone with her, I went straight to the MACCC and got a COVID-19 test, which I have done many times before, then drove four hours to my house where I would be for the remainder of my quarantine.
I am not going to lie, quarantining is tough. It has been easy to lose motivation about doing my work and hard to learn through an online lecture versus being there in person.
I always wished that I was back at school with my friends. I felt that quarantining was pointless since I tested negative on my test and did not show any symptoms. But I needed to continue because I was doing my part to stop the spread at ACU.
The hardest part of the process for me has been isolating from people. To be away from my classmates, my jobs and my friends. I am a very social person, so going days without seeing people or friends is a nightmare for me. Fortunately, my friends, bosses, coworkers and professors have become a support system during this time.
They have checked in on me to make sure I am okay, and my professors have been flexible in my assignments and my online transition. My co-workers at school have helped me by covering shifts and allow me to participate in meetings virtually. My friends have called and texted me, ensuring that I do not feel alone even though I am quarantined. For all of that, I have felt so grateful.
During this quarantine time, I have had plenty of time to reflect and think about things, especially how much I miss being on campus. So I will end with this. I beg everyone to do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Wear your masks, social distance and be responsible for your actions. But we have to do it in the same way that we want to experience college, together.