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Senior Ellie Fishlock and Juniors Ethan Tong and John Ortman kayaked while quar­an­tined at Michindoah. Courtesy | Ellie Fishlock

They say lim­i­tation breeds cre­ativity, and as coro­n­avirus cases con­tinue to increase and more stu­dents are in quar­antine as a result, they’re coming up with cre­ative tactics to beat the boredom.

From Park Place to Michindoah to even off-campus houses, quar­antine has become more than just a 14-day iso­lation period. For many, it’s become a place to build com­munity. 

When one of the guys at senior John Szczotka’s off-campus house, the Boon­Docks, got contact-traced, the house decided they would rather quar­antine the whole house than lose one of their tribe.

“We didn’t like the idea of them taking one of our guys,” Szc­zotka said. “We decided if one person gets contact-traced then we will shut down the whole house.”

Szc­zotka said that his house­mates were able to bond with one another during the quar­antine.

“We were very worried that we would hate each other by the end of it,” Szc­zotka said. “But on the flip side, we all got along well. We actually became a lot closer after quar­antine.”

The Boon­Docks boys found cre­ative ways to stay busy. They took up cooking together and mixing drinks, which Szc­zotka said was a lot of fun. In addition, they hung a heavy bag for boxing in their basement for exercise and started a shared Minecraft server to play on together. They even created themed parties during quar­antine.

“John Biscaro had a birthday during quar­antine,” Szc­zotka said. “We did a ‘pub crawl,’ where each of our rooms had a dif­ferent theme, drink, and type of music.”

The Boon­docks threw an in-house ‘pub crawl’ for junior John Bis­caro’s birthday. Courtesy | John Szc­zotka

Szc­zotka said he was glad that he and his house­mates made the decision to quar­antine as a house.

“All in all, it was a really nice way to spend quar­antine,” Szc­zotka said. “The first four or five days were an absolute joy. Not having to go to class, no stress, and just par­tying.”

Seniors Liana Guidone and Danae Sollie, also quar­an­tined in their off-campus house, CasaBlanca, after their roommate senior Sofia Krusmark tested pos­itive. Yoga, Mexican dinners, and movie nights were all their to-do list. The group made the most of outdoor exercise, Guidone explained. 

“Sofia and I have been taking yoga classes,” Guidone said. “Since we can’t go to yoga, we have been doing it in the backyard.”

The girls also made sure to say “hi” to all the stu­dents who walked by their house. 

“Our house is next to a busy street,” Guidone said. “We see stu­dents walk by our house a lot, so occa­sionally we will pop our heads out the window and yell ‘hi’ and chat for five minutes across the lawn.”

Though the girls cooked a variety of meals throughout quar­antine, Guidone’s house was also cre­ative with the food Bon Appetit dropped off at their door. 

“They dropped off a bunch of packaged blue­berry muffins,” Guidone said. “I mixed it with eggs and milk that we had from before quar­antine and made bread pudding. It’s kind of fun to do some­thing with stuff when you have a little more time.”

Seniors Danae Sollie and Sofia Krusmark quar­an­tined together after testing pos­itive for COVID-19. Sofia Krusmark | Col­legian

Senior Leahi Johsens, who quar­an­tined at Park Place after testing pos­itive, took up knitting during her time there.

“I had knitting needles and yarn that I had stuffed into my room some­where and never brought out to use, so I brought that into Park Place with me and started a beanie,” Johsens said.

Johsens also said that she and her quar­an­tined housemate also made up some random games to keep them­selves enter­tained.

“Saga sent us a lot of oranges, and we also had a lot of water bottles so we can have a game with a point system,” she said. “There were def­i­nitely cre­ative juices flowing even though pro­duc­tivity as far as work was con­cerned was pretty low.”

Sophomore Ethan Tong, who was quar­an­tined at Michindoh Con­ference Center, had the chance to make new friends from Gal­loway Res­i­dence. 

“I knew a lot of them by name but got to know them a lot better when we hung out a little bit more and got to talk over our sorrow of quar­antine,” Tong said.

Tong said there was cama­raderie built between those quar­an­tining together.

“We played a lot of vol­leyball because the weather was nice. We had some camp­fires and sang some worship songs,” Tong said. “We even set up a GroupMe so we could com­mu­nicate about meals and times to meet up.” 

Tong chal­lenges others to look for new friends as well.

“Keep in touch with all of your friends, but don’t be afraid to branch out and meet new people,” Tong said. “Realize that there are other people there who are also in the same boat as you. Reaching out to other people and getting to know them is going to help your quar­antine expe­rience be more enjoyable.”

In addition, Tong achieved a fitness goal at Michindoh by knocking out 1,680 pushups.

“When I got to Michindoh, I made a goal to hit 300 pushups a day by the end of my quar­antine,” Tong said. He said he worked up from 6 sets of 14 the first day to 14 sets of 22 by the end, a total of 308 pushups.

“First of all, set some goals for while you’re in quar­antine for what you want to achieve,” Tong said. “If you don’t set up any goals you will end up sleeping or getting dis­tracted.”

Junior Soren Moody used his time at Michindoh to grow closer with God, by taking peaceful walks every day around the lake each day.

“It was a great chance for me to have some solitude and silence,” Moody said. “It was like a Sabbath. It was very restful.”

Szc­zotka and Moody both encourage people who are going into quar­antine not to lose hope.

 “The key is not the sit­u­ation you are put in, but how you respond,” Moody said.

“Get into hobbies,” Szc­zotka con­tinued. “Find some­thing to do as a unit. You’ll be closer to your friends because of it. Make the most of it. Keep moving. You can’t let yourself get stuck in the room. If you have house­mates, do some­thing with them. People need people. Lean on the people you have with you.”