My Decision to Quarantine at Home: A Tale of Repetition


Colby Payne

There I waited in the circle, waiting for my departure from campus.

Colby Payne, Contributing Writer

In August, before I could move into campus, I was required to quarantine in a hotel room for two weeks due to being from MD., which at the time was a high-risk state listed by the N.Y. government.

The two weeks were long, boring and mind-numbing as I struggled to keep engaged in anything in particular. Passing time ranged from watching basketball, to playing video games or to taking prolonged showers with music so loud I was certain my hotel neighbors could hear.

A big pastime of mine was facetiming family members asking them to identify what meat I was given for dinner, half the time I couldn’t figure it out myself.

I can assure you the white stuff is not mashed potatoes.

By the end of my second week in quarantine,  Uber-eats was the only thing keeping me alive.

When I was released from my quarantine only one thing was certain: I would never be stuck in a room for two weeks again. 

On an ordinary Thursday evening, my suitemates came barging in my room showing me an email they had received “Return to your rooms by 9 p.m. , more details to come over a zoom call at 9:30. p.m.”

It was then that I knew we were going to be quarantined, and that I needed to make arrangements to leave campus. I called my parents to inform them of the situation and keep them updated.

 Then I watched the zoom call with the rest of my suitemates. That Thursday night zoom call did little, but stoke curiosity amongst everyone in Alumni Hall. It did not give anyone an answer. Rather it only provided a time when we can expect an answer, which would be the following morning. 

Upon waking up the next morning I immediately checked my email, but there was no update.

The process of checking my email repeated itself over and over again until about 2 p.m. when it was confirmed that all residents in Alumni Hall must quarantine for two weeks.

“What are you doing right now?,” I exclaimed as I called my father immediately.

He gave me some answer stating that he was coming back from the grocery store or something like that and I immediately asked him if he wanted to drive up to N.Y. and pick me up right away.

I am from Frederick, MD. which is about four hours away. This does not account for the traffic he would have hit leaving at 2 p.m., so the soonest he could pick me up would be the next morning. 

I watched as my suitemates left for home one by one. Eventually I was alone in the suite, quarantined again for the night.

Flashbacks to the month before in the hotel crept into my mind that night, had it been a month already?

Time flies by when you are allowed to move freely amongst the world around you. And are not stuck in a small room like I was a month ago, and again, now, on that night.

My time on campus so far has been interesting; yet fun. I have met amazing people and made great friends in the short time I have had and with the weird stipulations meeting them have come in.

Now I would be going back to Maryland for at least two weeks, and who knows how much worse it will get on campus in my time gone. My next time on campus might just be to pick up the remaining items in my dorm room to head right back home until Jan. But that possibility is not something I want to consider right now.

Ultimately, I decided to quarantine at home due to already having the experience a month ago and I did not want to repeat that situation again. I wanted to go home; I wanted to see my family and my hometown. I did not want to be stuck in a dorm suite alone for two weeks. As I approach the end of my quarantine from campus, I know I made the right decision, and I hope I never have to make it again.