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College Success

College & COVID-19: The Self-Quarantine Tale of an Extrovert

I define an extrovert as somebody who gets energized by being around other people. When I am by myself, I generally have lower energy levels compared to when I am around others. The excitement and comfort I get by communicating to other people fuels me. Recently, this prolonged period of a lack of in-person human interaction and plethora of time alone with my thoughts have taken a toll on my ability to focus and stay present.

I have been at home for around a month now. I spent the first two weeks alone in my room in self-quarantine after traveling back home from Manhattan. My family took every safety precaution possible to prepare for my arrival. This meant that my welcome back hug was replaced with alcohol spray on every inch of my body and suitcase once at the airport and once outside of my house.

The first week was surprisingly fun and refreshing. I was like, two weeks alone? I’ve never done that before. BRING IT ON.

I was amped to use all the extra time I had in a productive way to better myself. I worked out to YouTube videos, created new Spotify playlists, went through my closet and reflected deeply about some of my past purchases, Facetimed my friends, joined five different Facebook meme groups, watched documentaries, and pummeled through my reading list.

Then week two hit and I started to settle in. I was still productive and in a positive mood, however the newness had disappeared. It was in the last few days before I was released from my room that I started to lose a bit of my sanity. The only person I was seeing every day for the last fourteen days had been my own reflection in the mirror. There were definitely some moments in those days where I felt like I was the female lead in my own drama show.

On the second-to-last day of my self-quarantine, I remember opening the door to grab my dinner. During that time, I communicated with my family members mostly through text, call, or good old-fashioned screaming through the hallways. My dad yelled from downstairs, “Just two more days and you can join uswe are proud of you.”

As I was squatting near my door, I erupted in tears. On one hand I was so grateful to have the luxury of being in the comforts of my own home with my family members. On the other hand, I felt like I was shrinking and dissipating in the confinements of my room, feeling more physically separated from my family and the world than ever before.

For the last two weeks, I have been able to see and talk to my family. However, with still so much time alone and in my thoughts, my mind has constantly been wandering to the past and to the future. Although this lack of social interaction has drained me at times, I am doing my best to make the most out of this situation and stay as grounded as possible.

I find it useful to practice self-compassion and embrace the struggle rather than trying to shake it off. Like everyone else during this time, I am doing the best I am able to.

My name is Lina Zhuo and I am from Vancouver BC. I currently attend NYU and I am studying economics and business studies. I am interested in behavioral economics, entrepreneurship, and finance.

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