Interaction in a time of social isolation

I’d consider myself an introvert. But two weeks of social isolation, barely leaving my apartment, and seeing two, maybe four, people a day is something I never thought that I would experience.

Collegiate Responsibilities

With Covid-19 as contagious and intrusive as it is in the United States, colleges and universities across the US have elected to move to online-only for the rest of the semester. This impacts students’ academics, but also their extracurriculars.

One of my classes decided to stay synchronous, as it’s a discussion-based course where students lead the discussions. Some other classes have all of the assignments for the semester neatly laid out for students to complete whenever. The last class is somewhat synchronous, with the professor publishing assignments a week at a time, with optional video-calls in. It’s difficult to balance the different requirements of classes. Additionally, my time commitments have changed so drastically with my work schedule being modified since I am an essential employee.

In addition to my academics being strange, all of my extracurriculars are different, too. Honors Student Council meetings are sort of happening, but the majority of the work that we do is in social gatherings which aren’t happening for the rest of the semester. Unity Roundtable is in the process of helping multicultural organizations find ways to still hold events. Drake Broadcasting System is working on making content, but it’s still very different. Video chats for attempting group meetings are surprisingly draining, which I didn’t expect.

Finding things to do with others

I’ve been fortunate enough to be in social isolation with two of my three roommates, and even more fortunate for the existence of social media and video chatting. Just this weekend, we played Scattergories for about two hours, with the three of us in Des Moines (myself, Josie, and Kathleen) on one end of the video call, and our other roommate (also named Rachel) in Iowa City on the other end. Sunday night was really the highlight of my two weeks of self-isolation so far, because it was the first time in about two-and-a-half weeks that all four of us roommates interacted with one another.

Disney+'s Disney Channel Original Movie Collection

Another way to pass the time is binge-watching TV shows. Josie and I have taken it upon ourselves to watch the entire six-and-a-half seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Disney+, as well as other productions like Encore!, movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and old Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOMs). These shows are things that I’ve wanted to watch, but I hadn’t really had the time for when the semester was chaotic. Also, I barely saw my roommates. Now, I have plenty of time to do things that I’ve wanted to do, even though the circumstances to get to this point are far from normal, or good.

Finding ways to escape, however briefly, from what’s going on in the world is actually helping. The fact that coronavirus is happening, and that people are dying is always stuck in the back of my head. However, when I’m watching these shows, or talking and playing games with my roommates, it’s like the volume of the panic is lower and at a quieter buzz.

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