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The Suite Life of an Isolated Student

By Matteo Herrera 

Ah, the Barrymore hotel. That is the one place I never thought I would be at, especially during the pandemic. Yet, it was the place I was hoping to quarantine at, instead of Urso Hall. 

Yes, I tested positive for COVID-19 – don’t judge, I let the school know. Called Rapid Trace, answered their questions, and gave them my information; they told me Residence Life would call me later. Not even five minutes passed until they called me to fill out papers, so that took more time, and said Campus Safety would let me know when they’re outside to take me to Barrymore.

I pack my things and wait in my room while my roommates take precautions and stay off-campus until I leave. I waited for around an hour and a half sitting on my bed (since they were escorting someone else). Finally, I get called down, carrying a duffle bag and a backpack. Super awkward seeing people watching me get into a campus safety car with bags: it was clear what was happening. 

Campus Safety pulled up to the Barrymore, handed me my room key, and said I’m good to go. That day it was storming, so my luck, the elevators weren’t working. The front desk told me and guests who weren’t students to take the stairs on the building’s side. Get to my room, still with bad luck: the key doesn’t work. I went back down to get it sorted out and was finally able to get into my room. Dining Services left some packed up food at my door; it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. 

The next morning I woke up at three in the afternoon; the best part of being sick was the amount of sleep I got. Yet, I woke up with body aches that day. That wasn’t fun. The food didn’t make it any better; all I could eat were snacks such as Smuckers Uncrustable sandwiches, a protein bar, chicken noodle soup, and chips. The frozen food was atrocious. I warmed it up for 30 minutes and the chicken was dry, the croutons were wet, it had pineapples and dry green peas. If you don’t believe me go try it out yourself. 

Once they gave me frozen chicken pie, it started leaking in my room. The best thing I’ve eaten from the food they gave me were sandwiches with tomato, lettuce, ham, and cheese. However, five days into quarantine, I started to receive only one food bag per day instead of two. In the form, they state they’ll bring me food two to three times per day. That didn’t happen for the rest of my quarantine. I didn’t even bother to complain because the food wasn’t tasty; I had to order from UberEats most of the time. 

Was I wondering about my grades and classes? I had to pull missions for that, especially being a journalism major. During our “fresh air time,” I knew people at the Barrymore, so they helped me record my class videos. Being stuck in a room reminded me of how life felt when coronavirus started. I felt unmotivated to do anything. Until I noticed there is no security or Resident Assistants (RAs). I got fresh air whenever I liked, even though they said we’re allowed out from 3 p.m. to around 5 p.m.

Remember when I said guests were staying that weren’t students? I walked out of my room to go down; I saw a child on my floor, casually walking with his mother. The only thing I thought about was the number of kids I knew on this floor who were quarantining. When I was visiting a friend in the hotel, I went back to my room, and an adult walked out casually with no mask, drinking alcohol, going back to his room. He wasn’t a student. One of my friends left quarantine to buy groceries and returned to quarantine in his room without any problem. I went down to get some fresh air and I met some first-year students on their first day at the Barrymore. I saw them get into an Uber. 

That same day I saw those freshmen leave, I met people who tested negative but were told to quarantine at the Barrymore. 

Oh, the process of getting out of quarantine once my time was up was confusing as well. Rapid Trace said I was free to go the day before my actual time was up or the next day. Then Res Life called saying I’m open to leave on Wednesday, Sept.16 when my last day was on the 17. I told them I would stay one more night because it was already late; I was not packing and moving all my stuff in less than an hour. They told me I had to quarantine for 10 days since testing positive, which confused me since I tested positive on Monday, Sept. 7. Getting back to campus was another issue. One of my friends, who was allowed to leave a couple of days before me, walked back to campus with his bags from the Barrymore because no one told him that he had to call Campus Safety to pick him up. 

Staying at the glorious Barrymore Hotel was a lot more entertaining than I thought it would be.

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