2020 has been an unpredictable year, with COVID-19 rapidly spreading across the nation and presenting unique challenges for each individual. It is an unprecedented time for college students in particular, because the social environment of the college campus and classroom has profoundly changed. This academic year at USM began with a three day quarantine after residential students got tested for the coronavirus.
This is how the quarantine period went for students.
The first day gave students ample time to unpack and settle in for the quarantine. “I focused mainly on unpacking and getting settled in and that pretty much took up the entire day,” student Aaron Emerson says.
It also gave students a chance to prepare for classes and pursue hobbies. “As for the other two days, I read through the syllabi for my classes, practiced my instrument, and hung out with my roommate.” Emerson says.
The quarantine was an opportune time for relaxation and connecting with roommates. “It was great to be able to spend those three days with my roommates to get to know them better, and it was nice to have some down time where I didn’t have to worry about homework,” Junior Katie Colomb says.
The quarantine period did present difficulties as well, “It was very hard mentally to stay in quarantine, even just for three days, but I kept telling myself that I’m helping to protect those around me to keep them healthy and safe,” Colomb says. Quarantine also gave her time for gratitude and self reflection. “Living on campus during quarantine was definitely an eye opening experience, it made me take more time to appreciate the little things around me and become more aware of myself,” she says.
Unfortunately, the food from Sodexo wasn’t satisfactory, “My only complaint is that the food they gave us wasn’t fantastic,” Colomb says with a laugh.
Emerson speaks of the effectiveness of the quarantine, “I can only speak for my roommate and myself, but I think that the quarantine was effective. Assuming students followed the instructions given by the University, I think the testing and the moving students on campus went smoothly. Given the circumstances and the time with which they had, I think the University did very well implementing a safe and efficient system to get students into their dorm rooms.”
Amid this unexpected start to the school year, we are all persevering through this time: students are still pursuing their education through online classes, friends are still connecting virtually, and those who are able are continuing their careers by working from home, or have returned to work. We are resilient, and will only be stronger as a community after enduring this challenging time. The quarantine was able to keep all students safe so they can continue pursuing their degrees and feel connected to the campus community.