After the COVID-19 virus was detected in Copeland Hall’s sewage, it became the first dormitory to be locked down. This did not come as a shock as Copeland is the largest residence hall and has a controversial reputation of partying. This is an unprecedented semester, with new rules and regulations that have redefined the college experience. One of these rules included self-isolation, which was what I, and other students, experienced in the great Copeland lockdown of 2020. Fortunately, the second test later returned negative. However, those five days spent on lockdown were a whirlwind of memories and emotions. It can only be summarized with Charles Dickens’s most iconic quote: “It was the best of times and the worst of times.”
The “best of times” shocked me as I expected quarantine to be a bore, as we could only interact with roommates and fellow Copeland residents. Unfortunately, I did not have the company of a roommate and my pod mate was outside my residence hall. Rather than falling into despair, I decided to reach out to people on my floor. By the following night I was playing “Cards Against Humanity” with my neighbor and her friends, and laughing at both the obscene and extremely dumb combinations of cards. I did not think I would have so much delight in hanging out with a group of strangers, and yet, it left me with a sense that quarantine was going to be okay. Self-isolation also included another night of delight with “Mario Kart” and “Just Dance 3.” As I sipped Bobablastic taro boba in Copeland’s main lounge, I witnessed the greatest Just Dance duet to “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen where one dancer wore a bear onesie and the other donned trout slippers. Amid the eccentricity, comfort was discovered and new relationships were forged.
Despite the fun and games, the “worst of times” set in at certain points. My time in quarantine during the six months before returning to school could be described as purgatory. One second it was heaven spending time with my family and baking delicious goodies, and the next would be hell as I was parlyzed with full-fledged anxiety attacks. I have always struggled with my mental health, and as a result of quarantine it worsened. The self-isolation due to the hours I spent in my single room alone did not help in the slightest. I experienced crippling loneliness as my friends were out enjoying their Labor Day weekend. On top of it all, the Oregon wildfires were ravaging my hometown and creeping closer to campus. My stress eating worsened and I wondered if evacuation was destined for LC. I am blessed to say my family is safe, but I know many people who have evacuated and lost everything. And due to the thick smoke that fillewd the Portland air, I could not release my emotions like I usually did by taking a walk or using the elliptical. Thankfully, when I was feeling my worst, isolation was broken and I was able to get back into a positive mindset.
Although the first, Copeland will not be the last hall to experience quarantine at LC. Here is some advice for those who are currently, or who will be, isolated as the semester progresses: it will get better. This is an extraordinary historical era in our lives, so go and make memories. Introduce yourself to new people and play games if you get along so that you are able to experience some social interaction — socially distanced of course! Even to my fellow introverts, socializing is crucial to the human experience. And do not be afraid of the time alone. In moments of seclusion you can exercise to release endorphins, catch up on homework that you have been procrastinating on or enjoy a stroll through campus (once the pollution clears out). Isolation can be the best and the worst of times, depending on what you make of it. I am thankful to all the people and friends that I have made for making those five days worthwhile.