PHOTO / UNSPLASH
As many Piedmont students were just beginning to settle into the new COVID-19 normal, I wasn’t as lucky. As a senior in my final semester of undergrad, I went into what felt like a two-week prison sentence where time, weather and human interaction ceased to exist.
On Monday, Sept. 7, I woke up with a headache, but, like most college kids who spend their weekends enjoying festivities, I just chopped it up to what most college kids would, I went too hard this weekend.
That next day, I woke up and scheduled a COVID-19 test. I checked my temperature in the afternoon and discovered I had a low-grade fever of 99.8 degrees. After discovering the fever, I emailed Dean of Student Life and Leadership, Kim Crawford. I swiftly got a response with a plan to try and ensure the safety of my returning roommates. I was placed in the Getman-Babcock residence hall away from others and I went into quarantine on Tuesday, Sept. 8th.
On Wednesday morning, I woke up in my “new” room feeling great. I felt incredibly optimistic about the rapid test I was taking at Habersham Family Center. I showed up to my 10:50 a.m. appointment five minutes early, hoping to receive the rapid test in the 15 minute time period allotted to me. When I arrived, I was astonished to see the number of people at the facility getting tested.
I was disgusted. I almost drove away, but decided I needed to get tested. I filled out my paperwork and I got tested, then waited 30 minutes to find out I was positive.
Like most people would be, I was paranoid. I went straight to my room and created a Walmart pick-up order because I knew that 10 days straight with only the cafeteria food would not be acceptable.
Every day at 5 p.m., a box including a dinner meal, as well as breakfast and lunch for the next day, was delivered. This box contained a little bit of everything from the cafeteria that day, but most of the food was either soggy, stale, or just gross due to the transportation in Styrofoam containers. Ultimately, I found most of these meals inedible.
Saturday, Sept. 12, rolled around and that morning, I woke up feeling healthy and overwhelmed with sadness and loneliness. I felt like this for the next few days, as I didn’t have any symptoms. Deep down, I knew I was doing the socially responsible thing by quarantining myself and preventing the further spread of COVID-19, but during these days, the main thing I had on my mind was a fear of never returning to my room.
I feared it was inevitable that I would get an email that sent everyone home. The idea that I would spend some of my last days before graduation in lockup while the world around me enjoyed life contaminated my thoughts.
I longed for a release from the cement walls surrounding me. I longed for the warmth of the sun, I missed the smell of green grass, I missed smiles on people’s faces, the laughing, the conversations and all the actions and enjoyments we experience that we often take for granted.
I craved companionship and, once I stepped outside upon release, I admired a sunshine that the average person would consider unexceptional. For me, it was beautiful. My time spent in quarantine was a time of self-evaluation and realization of the incredible opportunity we have each and every day to make the world a better place.
In closing, I would like to extend my prayers and condolences towards anyone who experienced the virus like I had. I am incredibly grateful for my lack of complications and wish every Piedmont student, faculty, staff and family member health right now. My thoughts are with each one of you as we continue to battle this virus, one day at a time.