September 30, 2022 | CULTURE | By Sophia Lisco | Illustration by Elizabeth White

As I walked out of my first ever college class, the last email I expected (or wanted) to receive was a close contact notification from the COVID-19 Isolation Team. Unfortunately for myself and those around me, my ensuing visit to the health center resulted in a positive COVID-19 test (and some stress tears).

Fortunately for you all, I’ve acquired some nuggets of wisdom in my experience and am happy to present my comprehensive guide to surviving COVID-19 at CC at this current stage of the pandemic.

  1. Trust cautiously

While the health center told me I could return to class the next day with an N-95, the COVID-19 Isolation Team ordered five days of isolation. The conflicting information from the provider at the student health center, the email from the isolation team, and the CDC was dizzying.

Ultimately abiding by the school’s recommendations, I forced my roommate to risk her time in the room with a COVID-19 case or find other accommodations, which meant she slept on a friend’s floor. It became very difficult to obtain tests to determine whether I could leave isolation, leaving the two of us incredibly frustrated and ultimately disappointed with the lack of communication.

2. Diversify your tastes

Thankfully, I was only doomed to five days of isolation. During that time, I exhausted the selection of bagels and prepackaged meals found at Colorado Coffee, where the isolation team recommended I pick up meals. As I grew tired of mac and cheese and gluten-free peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (which I recommend avoiding at all costs), I was forced to step out of my comfort zone and try something I’d sworn against: instant ramen. Though I had once vehemently rejected the college student archetype that is the instant noodle diet, I found myself relying on these extremely affordable empty calories. When the dried pieces of rehydrated “beef” floating atop the soup would have once repulsed me, I now had to swallow my pride (ramen) and eat my words (also ramen). 

3. Binge wisely

My 15’ x 11’ room in Loomis could only provide so much entertainment. When I wasn’t Zooming into class, I was able to complete my homework in record time since I had literally nothing else to do. I would finish my homework around 3:30 each day, which meant I had roughly 8 more waking hours to kill. When selecting a show to watch, I recommend one with short episode lengths and multiple seasons to effectively pass the time.

Utilizing this method, I watched the entirety of “Fleabag”and I would do it again. Honorable mentions include “Rick and Morty” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. 

4. Use your resources

Thanks to some tactful coercion, I was able to gain access to valuable items without leaving my dorm room. As my roommate was banished to a room down the hall (thanks to the generosity of our neighbors), my contact with the outside world was severed completely and I was left alone with my wits to get through the next few days. Thankfully, the CC student body is full of kind-hearted and generous people. Making use of only my cell phone and charm, I commissioned a pack of granola bars from a fellow Priddy group member and was loaned a bottle of disinfectant spray and wipes from some lovely hall neighbors. 

5. Remember: You are not invincible

After my quarantine period was over, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get COVID-19 for months. Where my roommate cautiously wore a mask around campus, I was endowed with immunity and readily reentered the world.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is not the only illness making its way around campus. I was blessed with a week of peak physical health before I got sick again, woken up by a terribly sore throat in the early morning. My Block Break plans were therefore put on hold as I again nursed myself back to health. I was foolish to be so flippant regarding diligent hand washing and mask-wearing and my body again paid the price. 

Should you find yourself in my shoes, once again hindered by COVID-19, I hope that my guidance can offer you comfort and direction. My final word of advice is perhaps the most important — wash your hands, cover your cough, keep a mask handy, and try not to get COVID-19 in the first place.

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