The COVID diaries: inverse quarantine

Shannon Oostenink – Guest Writer

What is inverse quarantine you might ask? It is when one of your apartment-mates tests positive for COVID-19 and contact traces all of your other roommates… except for you. Then, instead of sending the quarantined peoples to a hotel, they get the apartment and you get the boot. You soon find yourself in your own hotel room on the same floor as all of the quarantined and isolated students.

While this sounds like an awful situation, I found myself on cloud nine. Let me paint you a picture: two queen-sized beds, your own bathroom with a bath, a TV, an armchair, a desk, and complete privacy. And as a cherry on top, you don’t have access to a kitchen, so you get a free 21 meal plan as a senior.

So, what does a day in the life of an inverse quarantined student look like? I wake up each morning at 7 or 8 and make the ten or so minute walk to campus for breakfast and my daily “good morning” from Marlene. After a meal of that can only be described as technically edible (I’m kidding…for the most part), I walk back to the hotel to prepare for the day.

When class time approaches, I drive back to campus. Between classes, I stop by the Grille (except on Wing Wednesday) for lunch. And when I am done for the day, I settle into “my spot” in 55th and start on homework. After a nice mix of homework and talking with friends who pass through, I pack up and head to the hotel to get ready for work or night class. A short session back at 55th rounds out my homework for the night and I head back to my peaceful and quiet hotel room to cap off the day.

I lived the good life for about a week…Then, honeymoon phase passed. Suddenly, the best parts suddenly became my biggest problems. I didn’t have a kitchen, so I had to eat all of my meals at the Grille or Commons… as a senior. I had to bring everything I needed for the day with me. If I forgot something, I had to walk or drive back to the hotel. And that hinged on hoping I didn’t forget or misplace my room key. Plus, those mornings when I realized I didn’t have the shoes or shirt that I needed for the outfit I wanted to wear for teaching practicum: very annoying.

The peace and quiet I originally enjoyed was replaced with missing the random and fun conversations that inevitably occur when living with roommates. Dance parties and karaoke becomes significantly less fun when it is just me, myself, and my reflection (although my showerhead has gotten some impressive performances).

An overall impression of my time as, most likely, the only inverse quarantined student at Dordt: 3/10. One point for the bed, a point for the shower/bath, and a final huge one for not actually having to quarantine. I am far too extroverted find the capabilities to enjoy having that much time and space alone. I’m all for adventures and trying new things, but I would not do this again. Now if you will excuse me, it’s time for my daily walk to campus.

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