If you are in quarantine, chances are you didn’t plan on it. Even if you thought you would be able to manage it with no problems, unexpected challenges can still creep up on you. If there is one thing that you should take away from your experience, it is that you are not alone. We are here for you, and there are other students in the same situation. Together, we can get through this.
We reached out to faculty and staff members from across campus with one question: what advice would you give to students in quarantine or self-isolation housing? Below are a few of our favorite responses.
Multicultural Student Life
Stay focused, engaged, and grounded. There are so many things that can take us away from being fully present whether in class or an event. There are also things that can be discouraging at times. It may rain throughout the night, but always know that the sunshine is coming back around soon. Take this time to attend a few new virtual events, lock in on school work, and always be sure to give yourself a break.
1) take lot’s of BIG ORANGE pride in the fact that you are doing the right thing by being in isolation, for yourself and others
2) contact all of your professors immediately so you can stay on track
3) take advantage of the great programming you can read about in the Vol Update and the ISO/Q newsletter
Center for Health Education & Wellness
It’s okay to have days when you are over quarantine or isolation and allow yourself to feel frustrated, but if you can, plan one thing that you can look forward to every day. Quarantine and isolation can feel monotonous in that you wake up, go to “Zoom school,” feed yourself, go to bed, and repeat. How can you bring in something that brings you joy to break things up a bit? Can you make plans to play a game online or on your phone with friends? Is there someone you haven’t connected with in a while that you can schedule virtual coffee with to catch up? Maybe designate Friday “my favorite meal night” and schedule delivery. Has it been a while since you listened to your favorite album? Plan a listen to start your weekend.
“You, me, or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can GET HIT and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” – Rocky Balboa
At 18, 19, 20 years old, chances are you haven’t faced life’s biggest challenge yet. Maybe you have, and if so, I commend your perseverance. But for most of you, you have a whole lot of life left to live. And there are great times ahead; wonderful times; things that will bring so much joy to your heart, you can’t possibly imagine them right now. But, there are also challenges ahead. The college experience isn’t just about having a good time for four to five years; it’s about growth. It’s about becoming the person you’re going to be for the rest of your life. And right now, you’re enduring something that will strengthen your character and will sharpen your resolve; attributes that help you through life’s biggest challenges. So, I encourage you to embrace your reality; understand you’re living in a moment that nobody will ever forget. Someday, years from now, someone younger is going to ask you ‘what was it like to live through COVID-19?’ Naturally, you’re going to think about your in quarantine. You’re going to tell them how you selflessly and patiently sacrificed so that others could survive. You’re going to tell them about how you got hit and kept moving forward; how much you took and kept moving forward. Cause that is how winning is done. And that is the Volunteer Difference. Thank you.
Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration
Participate in a virtual workout class, better yet, one that you have never tried before! This is a chance to try and a new type of workout in the comfort and privacy of your own space. Pre-COVID I had been nervous to try Zumba and Pound in person. During quarantine, I signed up to take one class for each over Zoom. Now that I know how to do the Zumba and Pound moves, when quarantine is over I will attend an in-person class with confidence!
Here is the link to TRECs Virtual Zoom Classes: https://recsports.utk.edu/virtual-group-fitness-classes/
Contact Tracing Team
My best advice is to try to stick as close to your routine as possible, and that means your social routine as well as your personal or academic ones. Self-isolation can feel pretty lonesome, and it’s important to stay in contact with your social support system. There are a ton of apps that can make it easier to get together even when you can’t physically be together. If you would normally grab lunch with a group of friends, open up a room on squad and hang out. FaceTime with the friends you would normally walk to class with. Have watch parties or a virtual game night virtually. However you do it, it’s important to keep yourself as connected as you can.
Also, bring your charger!
Office of the Dean of Students
Practice mindfulness and maintain a disposition of gratitude. I have learned, no matter what challenge(s) I am facing, there is always something to be grateful for. Sometimes, the challenge itself can feel overwhelming, and constantly thinking about the challenge only intensifies its mental grip. Therefore, I often start my day with a simple mindfulness exercise such as writing a gratitude list. Not only does the list help me become more appreciative, but reading my gratitude list throughout the day also provides a much-needed positive reframe when I feel anxious, overwhelmed, or pessimistic. Life is hard sometimes, and we can do hard things! Lastly, hang in there, and never be ashamed to ask for help because self-awareness is a strength, not a weakness.
Student Counseling Center
You can do two things at the outset of your time in isolation or quarantine that may be helpful. First, acknowledge how you feel about it. You may think it stinks, you may be unhappy, you may not care that much. It’s ok to feel how you feel! But, secondly, given that acknowledgment, accept that it IS, and then ask yourself—How can I best care for myself during this time?
Some ways people find helpful are:
- Make a schedule for yourself: Same time to bed, same time to rise most days; also try to eat and exercise at roughly the same times to create energy or to relax when you need to.
- In your daily routine, make a few times to hit the reset button – do something ELSE. Draw, crochet, watch an episode of a sitcom, call a friend. Make sure you do some things that take your eyes off a screen.
- Do things that move you physically, even if you are restricted to a small space.
- Try a gratitude journal – a the end of the day, write down 3 things that you are grateful or thankful for. It can help you focus on the good things.
David R. Dupper
College of Social Work
COVID-19 has presented us with an environment that we have never experienced before, and it is awful. You can’t prepare for it and it feels like forever. It is ok to have those feelings, and it is important to know that you are not alone. My advice? Stay connected. We are social creatures, and we crave connection with each other. You may need to be creative, and it may be hard, but it is essential. Seek out a support group. Host a Netflix party with your friends. Have a virtual conversation with someone. Explore your options, be creative, and take advantage of the resources around you. Don’t know where to start? Check out the Canvas course we developed earlier this year. It is full of resources about COVID-19, mindfulness, and managing your stress and anxiety.