How to keep your sanity during quarantine

By Hadassah Umbarger, Staff Writer

I had mixed feelings when I heard that my family had been exposed to the Coronavirus and that we were going to be quarantined for a week.

I was worried that I might also be positive and had exposed my friends. But I was secretly a little happy that I was going to get a week off. I felt like I hadn’t started the semester right and was glad to get the chance to do it over, in a way.

I’m extremely introverted, so the prospect of being off-campus for a week didn’t fill me with dread like it might have if I were extroverted. It also helps that I still live at home with my parents and five younger siblings — I’m not really ever bored or lonely. I was homeschooled for all my life until now, so doing school at home isn’t new or hard for me.

And while that week was restful and helped me “redo” my semester start, it wasn’t as great as I had been hoping. Yes, I enjoyed not having to leave the house as much, but I started to realize how much I value in-class experiences. Just being able to see people’s faces in person (even half a face!) makes a difference.

I’m taking five classes this semester. Two of them are hybrid classes, so students can attend class in person or Zoom in online. One of my classes is completely online, and in my two classes that weren’t hybrid, I had friends that were willing to Zoom me in through their computers or phones (Thanks Murphy and Austin!)

I guess I was expecting Zooming for one week to be better than a whole half-semester, like we did this spring. I found that while hybrid classes are helpful for students who can’t leave the house, it’s really kind of awkward when there are just one or two students Zooming in with everyone else in-person. I can’t imagine the strain on professors as they try to pay equal attention to Zooming students and in-class students. Also, your face gets projected at the front of the classroom, so that’s fun…

I like being at home better than going places, but I find that my house is like a black hole that swallows all my productivity. I was able to keep up with my classes, but it was harder to prioritize homework and school over things like watching “The Great British Baking Show” with my mom or playing with my little sisters.

Thankfully none of us got sick, so I was able to come back to class after a week. It’s been hard getting out of bed at a normal time and putting on real clothes, but I’m glad to be back.

If you end up getting quarantined (which I really hope you don’t), try to keep these things in mind so that your experience will be better than mine.

Try to keep some structure to your day: This is probably the hardest but most important thing to do. Routine is very important to me and helps me, but as soon as I was in quarantine, every semblance of normality went out the window. I stayed up too late, didn’t get up early enough, and just floated around with a sense that I should be doing something but I didn’t know what. Making a routine can help you keep your sanity. And when you want to break from routine and want to procrastinate, try to bribe yourself like you would a toddler. “If you do 10 minutes of homework, then you can play a round of [insert whatever video game you’ve been playing too much of recently].”

Keep in touch with friends and family: Not being around people can make you feel depressed and unmotivated. When you’re figuring out your new routine, make a slot for video calling with your friends or family members. You don’t have to do it every day, but I find that video calling with my best friends every Friday afternoon helps me get through the week because I have something to look forward to.Keep your workspace and bedroom clean: Ok, so I totally didn’t do this at all. Please don’t make the same mistake I did. As college students living through a pandemic, we’re already stressed enough. Having a messy room can lead to more stress, even if you don’t notice it. Also, you have control over your own room, which can help you feel better since there is so much that we can’t control in the world today.

PHOTO: HADASSAH WAS IN quarantine for a week with her family, including five younger siblings. Hadassah Umbarger, Staff Writer.