A Quarantine Routine May Give College Students Something to Look Forward To
By Madyson Fitzgerald
As the spread of the coronavirus intensifies and government officials push for more “social distancing,” college students have been informed that the rest of their semester will take place at their homes.
On Monday, March 23, Governor Ralph Northam issued an executive order, closing all non-essential businesses and K-12 schools. All public gatherings of more than 10 people were also banned statewide. “I know the next several weeks will be difficult,” Northam said. “These restrictions on non-essential businesses will create hardships on the businesses and employees affected. But they are necessary, and we do not undertake them lightly. I am calling on Virginians to sacrifice now, so that we can get through this together.”
As of March 28, COVID-19, commonly referred to as the coronavirus, has infected 103,000 people in the United States, including 1,168 confirmed deaths. In Virginia, there are close to 739 cases alone, with 14 confirmed deaths based on reports from the Virginia Department of Health.
Colleges across Virginia have taken Northam’s advice and closed for the rest of the semester accordingly. Now, students across the state have exchanged their normal academic routine and social lives for online classes and staying in.
Stuck at home and reluctantly committed to their new online classes, many students are in a state of stress and anxiety. In addition to the drastic changes to their academic year, many have been torn from organizations they were bound to, clubs they valued and friends they loved. The hectic turn in events is affecting students’ mental and emotional state, and with efforts solely focused on continuing instruction, mental health has been undermined.
In response, the experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have outlined a report for coping with stress in times of disaster. Some of the points they include consist of taking breaks from the news (including social media), taking care of the body, making time to unwind and connecting with others. Knowing the facts of COVID-19 can also prevent unnecessary stress.
As many people have taken to Twitter and Instagram to express their frustration about the circumstances, others have put a positive spin on an unfortunate event. Many individuals have come forward to share their “quarantine routine,” a written-out plan of how every day will be conducted, all while staying at home. Many of them look a little like this:
7-8 a.m. – Wake up
8:00-11:30 A.M. – Classwork/meetings
12-1 P.M. – Lunch
1-4 P.M. – Classwork/meetings
5-6 P.M. – Exercise
6:15-7 P.M. – Dinner
7:15-8 P.M. – Meditation
8:30-9:45 P.M. – Free time
10-10:30 P.M – Get ready for bed
11 P.M. – Bedtime
Of course, everyone’s quarantine routine is different. Some individuals have very blunt schedules, only including classwork and meals. Others use the trend as a way to express their true routine (9 a.m.-10 p.m.: stare at my phone). However, creating a schedule creates a sense of control and stability that is not only easy to follow but beneficial both mentally and emotionally.
Dr. Steve Orma, a clinical psychologist, explained in a Headspace article how routines can actually relieve stress. “Create a set schedule for doing chores, work tasks, meetings, exercise, paying bills, and all the usual things you need to do. Put these into your schedule. Once this becomes your normal routine, it’s easier to accomplish everything, because it becomes habit,” Orma said.
Routines aren’t the only lists being shared on social media. Quarantine bucket lists are an enjoyable way to pass the time. Many of them include trying new things, finishing long-term projects, cleaning, meditating and reflecting on life. The coronavirus has given many people a pause in their life, where self-reflection could go a long way once quarantines and self-distancing are no more.
Although this semester is over, many students hope to be back on campus in the fall. Experts with The New York Times have estimated that the spread of the virus should slow down within months. If measures to slow down COVID-19 are taken seriously, life in the United States could get back on track by summer. While there is still much to learn about this fast-paced virus, students are adapting to their new life amid a crisis.