An editor’s experience in quarantine

by Nathan Herbst | Opinion Editor

I had scarcely been in my campus apartment at the University of Indianapolis for more than a day when I received news from home that someone I had seen a few days before had tested positive for COVID-19, which meant I could have been exposed to the virus. 

After contacting Vice President for Student and Campus Affairs and Dean of Students Kory Vitangeli and a health professional, I was told I would have to go into quarantine. 

I was given three options for where this could take place: a hotel paid for by the university, my campus apartment or my home. 

I wanted to stay in my apartment after a long spring and summer away from my friends and roommates, but after asking them what I should do, I realized I couldn’t put that kind of decision or risk onto them. I opted for the hotel and began my lonely tenure as a potential biohazard there.

Truthfully, the whole experience was pretty much what you’d expect. You’re stuck in a hotel room for a while. You’re bored, lonely and waiting for the seclusion to end. It wasn’t particularly pleasant and definitely was not the way I wanted to start my semester, but it also wasn’t the absolute worst thing in the world. 

All of my classes were online, so that made doing schoolwork fairly simple. You’d think it would be easy to focus on classes, being cooped up in a hotel room all day, but between worrying about the health of others, avoiding all physical contact, watching movies and trying to maintain some sanity, the day can really get away from you.

The hotel UIndy provides for people in quarantine is nice enough. All the amenities are there, the rooms were comfortable and everything was pretty clean. One of my friends even had a jacuzzi in his room.

I wasn’t a prisoner in the hotel. I wasn’t locked up in my room, and there were no guards enforcing a strict lockdown or anything. I was even allowed to leave if I needed to. However, since the whole point of quarantine is to avoid other people, it was all but expected I would do that of my own volition. The only times I left my room were to get food or relieve cabin fever by going on my daily runs. 

Meals were provided by the university and came straight from the cafeteria in takeout boxes. The food had to endure the rigors of transit, which made it taste worse. And I didn’t get to pick out what I wanted, either. 

The amount of food provided was quite small, especially for an active student-athlete. I could have eaten both takeout boxes for one meal and still have been hungry. Some of the foods were also not the healthiest. A lot of the food was fried, and sometimes the only “vegetables” I got were a handful of french fries. 

If I hadn’t brought an entire tote bag full of my own food, I would have been hungry the entire time I was there. No one asked about my dietary preferences or restrictions either, although I assume some level of accommodation could have been provided if I’d asked for it.

During my time there, I wasn’t checked on a lot and was mostly left to my own devices. This was fine for me, as I wasn’t demonstrating any signs of infection, but if something bad were to happen to me, it probably would have taken a while for someone to figure that out.

After five days and five nights at the hotel, I left to continue my quarantine at home because I was extremely bored and getting lonely. Getting through the full 10 to 14 days would have been really tough. 

If you find yourself in quarantine, know that it will be a challenge. There’s no getting around the fact that this is a difficult ordeal. Humans are social creatures and aren’t meant to be away from people for so long. You’ll need to be resilient and remember that this isn’t the end of the world. You can get through it, and if it helps at all, just know that the rest of the world isn’t really doing anything particularly fun while you’re shut away. 

At least, they shouldn’t be.


Quarantine Packing List:

  • Food and snacks
  • Video streaming service(s)
  • Music
  • Books
  • Video chat app
  • Exercise equipment (running shoes, portable weights, yoga mat, etc.)

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