Aaron Mumu, a junior English major, set foot on campus on Friday Aug. 21, 2020. But, to his dismay, he was showing COVID-19 symptoms.
Mumu had to be quarantined for six days. His symptoms cleared up by Monday with him testing negative for COVID-19 and he was released by Wednesday, Aug. 26. The Southern Accent was able to interview Mumu who shared his quarantine experience. Questions have been edited for length and clarity.
Q: Were you excited to return to school this year, prior to getting sick?
A: I was excited! But cautiously excited. I was looking forward to seeing my friends again, but was definitely nervous about whether the safety measures would work. Or more specifically, if other students were willing to follow the safety procedures. And that’s why I think [I] was willing to share my experience during quarantine. I don’t want quarantine to be something we dread to go into, but just a minor annoyance.
Q: Where were you quarantined?
A: I was in the lower basement hall [in Talge]. Like, the ground level. I had a window. So, I put on my story, [Instagram], ‘please visit me right outside my window.’ So once classes started, I could see everyone, walk around with their freedom just like ‘wow, must be nice.’
Q: What was provided for you while you were in quarantine?
A: It was separated into two time frames: the first three days before classes started, and then there was after classes started. When I first got into quarantine, I felt like they did a pretty good job of taking care of me making sure I had everything I needed. If I needed something, I would text them or call someone and they’d get it.
But then, I gave them my laundry, and I would wait until 8 p.m. and I didn’t have my bedsheets or my towels. So I’m like, “Well, this is a problem.” Then I email someone, “Hey, please send me bedsheets. After correspondence, they finally gave me my bedsheets, but I opened it up [and] I didn’t have my pillowcase at all. So I didn’t sleep with a pillow that night. I didn’t tell them I needed a pillowcase until the next day because I kind of felt bad for pestering them so much that day.
Q: How did the food options work?
A: The food delivery service is kind of weird. In quarantine, I think the biggest thing isn’t necessarily the way that they do it. It’s just that I don’t feel like they communicated very well. At least when I went into quarantine, we weren’t completely sure how to order food, or at least they didn’t explain it to me well.
I was one of the first few people [to go into quarantine]. I think that was the biggest reason why I had such a negative experience, because I really didn’t know what I should expect.
Q: Did you have time to pack? What did you bring with you?
A: I just brought the stuff that I would need from my dorm. They don’t rush you. But me personally, I just rush. I forgot to bring so many things. I forgot to bring toothpaste, so I had to ask them to bring me toothpaste. I forgot to bring clothes! I only had the clothes on my back. [So], I texted my dean and was like, “I need clothes!” I packed my Kindle, my ukulele (which I never played during quarantine.) I packed my laptop. I did bring my towel and my toothbrush.
Q: What are three positive things that you’ve learned from being in quarantine?
Aaron: One, I had time and was able to entertain my friends through Instagram by sharing my experience – and they would both try to distract me from quarantine or show their concern for me while in quarantine. It reminded me how real my friends were and I was so thankful that we could still connect over social media.
Two, I learned even more so how important it is to speak up for myself. I’m sure the deans really wanted me to eat during the 24 hours I didn’t have food, but they wouldn’t have known if I didn’t speak up and pointed out flaws in the quarantine food system.
And three, I gained new appreciation for things I could do outside of quarantine like choosing my own food and going on quiet walks.