Self-Isolation in Residence

On Thursday morning, I woke up with a sore throat, a cough, and a headache. I phoned the UVic Student Wellness Centre (250-721-8492), and confirmed with a nurse that I should be tested for Covid-19. At the clinic, the nurse swabbed my throat and my sinuses – it was unpleasant, but not painful.

I live in a dormitory in UVic Residence. I share a bathroom, common spaces, and the cafeteria with many other people.

Because of the nature of high density housing, any resident who has been tested for Covid-19 must move to a self-isolation room while awaiting the test results.

I was pretty nervous at the thought of living in total isolation for the next few days. Nonetheless, I packed up my duffel bag with clothing, snacks, and school supplies, and headed off to my new room.

Each self-isolation room is equipped with a desk, bathroom, fridge, microwave, bed (with bedding!) and storage space. Seeing the room for the first time was a huge relief, as I knew that I would at least be comfortable in the space.

When I arrived in my new room, I received an email from Food Services. I was instructed to fill out a form each day dictating what I would like to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Meals were dropped off at my door throughout the day. Wrapped in plastic, each meal was contact free, and I was only charged the cafeteria price, with no delivery charge.

After 48 hours in my self-isolation room, with the expectation that I would receive the results of my Covid-19 test within 72 hours, I started thinking about the items I had packed.  Five items I’m very happy I decided to pack are:

Kettle. Making tea and coffee has helped me focus and let me enjoy some warm drinks.

School and writing supplies. If nothing else, this isolation has helped with productivity – I’ve had enough time to work through a bunch of readings and homework assignments.

Laptop and phone (with chargers.) Thankfully, I’ve been able to connect to family and friends through video and audio calls. My girlfriend and I have been watching Avatar together via Zoom, and my family and I did a virtual art gallery tour together!

Snacks. Although plenty of food is delivered throughout the day, it’s been great having some of my own food with me. I brought crackers, fruit, peanut butter and Nutella.

Ukulele. I brought my ukulele on a whim, but I’m so happy to have it here! Playing music and writing songs has made the self-isolation process much more fun.

One thing I wish I’d brought along:

An extra pillow and blanket. I would have liked to make the bed feel more comfy and more like my own. Plus, I probably would have slept better if I had thought to bring an extra pillow.

Although at first it was difficult to adapt to the reality of total self-isolation, this experience turned out to be far less scary than I initially expected.

In isolation, I found the ability to be creative and productive – having a space entirely to myself for four nights was a little bit of an introvert heaven. For me, the most important thing was staying in contact with friends and family.

Thankfully, I received a call Monday morning, and my Covid-19 test was negative. I am so looking forward to being able to walk around campus again, but will hold onto this experience as one that is (hopefully) uniquely 2020.


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