On October 15th, 2020, I received an email that would change the entire course of the following two weeks for me.
The email that I received was from my cross country coach and it was titled “Positive Case.” I was in the process of bringing my laundry back to my room when I felt my phone buzz so, being the impatient person that I am, I decided to see what the notification was from. When I saw the email notification on my phone, I immediately began to feel dizzy and nauseated to the point of nearly fainting because I already knew what was going to happen next.
The email stated that there was a positive COVID-19 case that was detected on the cross country team and that the entire team needed to return to our rooms or apartments to quarantine while the Keene State College Rapid Response Team investigated who were considered contacts and who were exposed to the positive individuals.
Once I finished reading the email, I went straight to my room and decided to call my best friend and ask her what I should do. She told me to take a deep breath and gave me some advice on what to do in the meantime while I waited to receive the call from the KSC Rapid Response Team. After I got the call, I ended up choosing to go home and quarantine there. I do have to give an applause to the amazing people at the KSC Rapid Response Team who were working their butts off during this entire ordeal.
Once I finally got home that night, the loneliness would very quickly begin to settle in. I decided that my best option was to just get some sleep so I went straight to bed. When I woke up the following morning, I was hoping that everything that happened in the previous day was just a really bad dream, but once I opened my eyes, my hopes were immediately crushed. I then proceeded to try and do my daily morning routine of getting ready for the day, but the entire time it felt like there was a sense of dread and uneasiness following me wherever I went.
The first set of tears came rolling down my cheek while I was in the middle of brushing my teeth that morning. I had not even been in quarantine for 24 hours and the deathly feeling of loneliness was already starting to envelop and blacken my soul. After a few minutes of quietly sobbing over the bathroom sink, the tears began to dry up and I decided to sulk back to my room and try to find something to distract myself from the seemingly destructive cloud that was stifling my mood.
I would very quickly find myself picking up one of the few activities that had guided me out of my depression that I dealt with during my teenage years: For the next five to six hours, I was striking my plastic pick against the nickel-wound strings while my fingers danced upon those same strings along the fretboard on my guitar. The next thing I knew it was already time for dinner. For the rest of that weekend, I would pretty much follow the same routine, but with progressively less and less moping around.
When the weekend was over and Monday hit, I was like an eager dog waiting for my Zoom class to start so I could finally talk to someone other than my mom and step dad. I felt like the highlight of my Monday nights was being able to talk to the rest of my fellow friends at The Equinox. It honestly felt like I haven’t seen them for an eternity, which made me realize and truly appreciate the smaller things in life that sometimes don’t get mentioned because of the craziness that is life. Yet, I want to thank everyone at The Equinox for being basically my family, I genuinely appreciate every single laugh, tear and hard work that everyone puts into this newspaper.
Anyways, as the week progressed, I would begin to remind myself that there are many people who care about me and are always cheering me on to help me get through this. Although not being able to run and get my daily exercise in would only deteriorate my mental state, I would still persevere on top. Then the next thing I knew, I received an email saying that I was able to go back on campus.
During that first 48 hours of being home, the feeling of being completely alone with only my warped mind brought me back to a time in my life where I felt truly alone, where I would cry to myself every single moment I had because I felt like I was not genuinely loved by anyone. Yet, even during that incredibly grim point in my life I would quickly realize that there are people out there who will always be there for me no matter what. They would always be there to cheer me on even when they cannot physically be next to me. A lesson that I would re-learn from being in quarantine is that even when the walls are feeling like their toppling down around me and life is barreling out of control, there will always be people to help pick me up off the ground and take care of me.
Andrew Chase can be contacted at: