Student adapts to life in quarantine after traveling to Colorado for spring break

(Photo Courtesy of Dawson Wagner)

As more cases of COVID-19 are confirmed everyday, more people are sent into 14-day quarantines to prevent further spread.

Dawson Wagner, junior in mass communications, took a skiing trip over spring break with his dad and two brothers to Vail, Colorado. When they left for the trip, there were no major warnings about closures or the virus, but the situation escalated quickly.

“They decided to shut down all operations because apparently a skier had gone from Breckenridge to Vail to another ski resort who then tested positive for the coronavirus,” Wagner said. “So then they didn’t know if it had spread or could’ve gotten on any of the equipment and they completely shut down everything.”

A few days after their return home, all travelers who visited various parts of Colorado were advised to quarantine.

“It’s crazy to think about how fast it all escalated within a few days, and I think that’s what honestly led to the hysteria and panic that everybody has had with how fast all of this has spread,” Wagner said. “Ultimately, coming from that I learned that specifically for myself I should be careful with what I’m touching, be careful with what I’m eating or people I’m around or what kind of symptoms people might show.”

When he settled into his new rhythms, he said he found himself needing to find new activities to do while classes were suspended and he had no social interaction.

“Like a lot of people, I resorted to a natural state of occupying my mind with something that I was good at back in the day, which is video games,” Wagner said. “That helped a lot just with occupying my mind from all of the ongoing news and updates that they were giving about cases rising more and more and the death toll and all those things that weigh so much on our consciousness.”

Along with finding ways to keep busy during the day, he said he needed to find a way to make the new transition as normal as possible.

“I just needed to accept and understand that things were going to be this way,” Wagner said. “It’s been an adjustment period for sure, definitely a lack of routine at first, but with that came practice, and the more practice I had with just getting up and staying productive and getting ready for the day even though I wasn’t leaving the house.”

After quarantining for the suggested 14 days, he returned to Manhattan for a couple of days to retrieve some belongings, and went back home as students were advised to stay at their permanent homes if possible.

“I’ve had a lot of reflection going on and that comes from uncertainty I think,” Wagner said. “It comes from that sense of that deep part in people that most don’t share is when you start thinking about the good old days or how things used to be, but what’s important is to look ahead instead.”

Wagner saw this situation as an opportunity to rethink how people communicate and connect with others, especially as more events get canceled and more cases are confirmed.

“It’s definitely something that we can’t predict but we just have to let it run its course and that’s what I’ve taken away from this,” Wagner said. “As long as it’s running its course and we’re seeing the cases rising, I need to keep my mind occupied on the things that matter most to me personally to be able to get through it. I think that’s what, when I look back at this time most, is the big period of transition for my mental health and myself personally and a time of growth to get to that point of ‘We can get through this no matter what it is because it’s the only option we have.’”