Before COVID-19, Loyola first-years spent their first weeks on campus hanging out with new friends in cramped dorm rooms, exploring campus and finding their way around Chicago. Now, first-years such as Marie Delaney just look forward to things like filling up their water pitchers on different dorm floors during the university’s required move-in quarantine.
Loyola students who have chosen to live on campus this semester have to participate in a mandatory two-week move-in quarantine. During this time, meals are delivered to each hall and students aren’t allowed to gather in each other’s rooms or common areas such as hallways and lounges.
Quarantined students are only permitted to leave their rooms to receive meals and get tested for COVID-19. Otherwise, they’re required to stay in their rooms according to the university’s website.
Caitlyn Shelley, a first-year nursing major from Ohio living in Regis Hall, said she was struggling to fill her days until classes started. She said the one thing she looks forward to in quarantine is going to get tested for COVID-19 as it allows her to take a walk outside and get some fresh air.
“I look forward to getting COVID-19 tested just because interacting with people even socially distanced with masks on is so nice,” Shelley said.
Shelley said she starts her quarantine days with coffee and breakfast before picking up her lunch from the lobby in the afternoon. She said she fills the rest of her day with watching TV, FaceTiming friends in other dorms and scrolling through TikTok, a social media video app.
Prepared meals for students are delivered to dorm lobbies twice a day around lunch and dinner time, and breakfast for the next day is delivered with dinner.
Besides filling up her water pitcher each day, Delaney also has picked up some hobbies to pass time while in quarantine.
“I also have been crafting and painting in quarantine,” Delaney said. “I made a Diet Coke garland for my room as well as some paper butterflies. I also have been playing my ukulele.”
The first-year political science major said she keeps in touch with friends and family virtually, Facetiming her mom each day at lunch.
“I’m not really sad in quarantine,” Delaney said. “I’m just underwhelmed a lot so I’m just constantly bored.”
For Shelley, her favorite things in her room are her paint swatch calendar and pictures of family and friends because she said they bring her a lot of joy.
Liam More O’Ferrall, a first-year biology major, said one piece of advice he would give to someone going into quarantine is to find a way to stay active — for him, it’s playing putt-putt golf.
“The biggest way I spent my time at home was golfing so I had it at my house,” More O’Ferrall, a Wisconsin native, said. “It really brings me a sense of peace while I’m here.”
More O’Ferrall said quarantining in a new place is both a struggle and a positive. He said he’s gotten to figure things out for himself but has also been able to meet new people in the hallways.
Shelley echoed More O’Ferrall’s sentiment — for her, quarantine has been a growing experience.
“For me, quarantine is a time to try new things,” Shelley said. “It’s a time where you can be fully yourself and try things without any trouble. It’s also a time where you can get to know new people through social media so you don’t feel alone post-quarantine.”