Articles, COVID-19,, Keeping Busy, Thinking Positive

Coming Home to Quarantine | The Unexpected Turn of Spring Break 2020

When I packed for Spring Break, I thought I’d be coming back to school. I packed some heavy winter clothes to leave at home, one pair of pajama pants, and any dirty clothes in need of washing. We didn’t think the hugs or goodbyes would be the last for months.

Break was supposed to be only two weeks after all!

I flew through New York City, so I was already nervous about getting sick, but things were still calm. People weren’t really wearing masks–I was the only one on the plane with a mask on. I went to New Orleans with my best friend from high school, stocked with hand sanitizer. We even sang Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” for 20 seconds to make sure that we were appropriately washing our hands for the right amount of time. Mid-break, however, my semester was delayed. 

Okay, I thought. Not horrible, just a little longer. I’ll be back in April, no problem. 

Then it got worse. Emails piled up as I tried not to stress out about the situation. I was scared of getting sick, of having other people get sick. Things were getting worse. And really, no one knew what was happening. I anxiously waited to learn what was going to happen. 

I studied abroad in Paris during the fall semester, and I’m so thankful that I was able to be abroad. Since being away for a semester, it would be exciting to be back on Vassar’s campus! I would’ve been able to see the snow on the library lawn (it’s really beautiful), have more late night banana bread bakes with my suitemates, and even in-person classes. I didn’t realize how much I would miss going to class. 

Being forced to come  home mid-semester from college is awkward. As a 21 year old junior in college, I had 2.5 years of living in a dorm on a campus over a thousand miles away from home. I learned how to take care of myself when I had the flu, advocate for myself to faculty and admin when I felt overwhelmed, and learn how to be on my own.

My room set-up had the best study area. A desk with pictures of my parents and best friends in frames, my pens neatly lined up in the left-hand corner, and my tea kettle on my mini-fridge. I had a routine in college and a certain set of expectations, and having that all of a sudden taken away is weird. It’s shocking and wildly disruptive. I thought I’d be living in my room until late May, not for only a little over a month.

I do love being home with my parents and my three dogs. Additionally, I have access to great snacks whenever I want them, and I can shower without shower shoes. Being home is great. But it isn’t college. It feels so weird trying to do college level classes when I haven’t had to do homework at home since high school. I moved to a new state before college even started, so I’ve never even been home in April. 

It’s been about a month at home, and I’m just now starting to get into the swing of things.

My classes are all online, but they’re now falling into a routine. My Zoom classes are not the same as in-person classes. They can be really awkward since we sit with our microphones muted until we want to talk, so sometimes there’s a pause until someone unmutes themselves. I also still sometimes talk when my mic is muted without realizing it, so I’m getting used to it, too. It’s hard to balance schoolwork and friends while being at home with my parents and my dogs. 

For me, college was supposed to be in New York, not Memphis. Trying to make it work here without being able to leave my house and go sit in a coffee shop or library has been so hard. I’m really lucky since my professors have been accommodating, and my parents are really understanding when I have class time. It makes it less stressful but still hard. 

I’m trying to stay positive though!

I call my friends multiple times a week, and we play card games to try to feel like we’re all back together. My future housemates and I are still planning what our house is going to look like, birthday parties, things to cook. My suitemates and I still update each other on the random things we do everyday. I bought the same essential oil kit I had at school to make me feel a little more at home. I put new pictures up of my friends from college.

Being home is hard, and this isn’t how college should’ve been for me. However, I’m thankful that I have a home to come back to, parents who support me, friends who keep me laughing, and another year left at school. This will end, and I’m happy to be doing my part by staying home and keeping my community safe. Never again will I take for granted going to a coffee shop, or anywhere outside of my home.

Zoë Zahariadis

(she/her) Charter member of GirlSpring's teen leadership group, the Springboarders, as a teenager. Now, a senior at Vassar College and is majoring in Political Science/French & Francophone studies with a minor in Women's Studies.

More Posts

You may also like

Leave a Reply