By Claire Neiberg, English Major / ARYSE Intern
It’s only been a few days since I posted my last blog posts, you know, the one about the “light at the end of the tunnel.” Well, that light only lasted until about 8pm yesterday, because at 8:30, I was whisked off in a Z-Car to the quarantine hotel on Southside after being contact traced.
When I heard, all I could do was laugh. Laugh because I was in shock. My friend who tested positive had been so careful. Laugh because if this had happened just ONE WEEK later, I would be considered fully vaccinated. Laugh because I had over ten missed calls from Health Services because I wouldn’t let anything interrupt my LSAT Workshop presentation (yes, the LSAT is still controlling my life). And laugh because the packing list they sent me had things like “nail polish” and “Hulu password.” Yeah, let me just pack my Hulu password before getting shipped off to isolation for the next ten days. Definitely my top priority.
I know, I KNOW they’re just trying to be nice, and I’m thankful they gave us a packing list at all because I was definitely almost out the door forgetting my medication, hairbrush, and contact solution. Lucky for me, my much more practical friend reminded me to grab them in the midst of packing other necessities such as spicy miso ramen, origami paper, my cute new emotion octopus so I can let everyone know that I am NOT happy to be here, and quite literally, my entire bedding.
My bedding was actually the last thing I needed because the hotel was kind enough to give me eight pillows and two very comfortable beds. I slept in the one closet to the outlet and have used the other one strictly to jump on. When I called my parents crying, my dad told me to keep my head up and take advantage of being in a nice hotel. I used to love hotels when I was a little kid–jumping from bed to bed and running down the hallways. It could be a lot worse.
And it really could be a lot worse. I could be in Towers (ew). Or I could be home and risk spreading the virus to my family. But I’m not. I’m at a perfectly nice Holiday Inn, have full-access to food delivery services (thanks, Dad), and already have had several friends offer to bring me anything I need (I really am so blessed!). Having one of my best friends here helps as well because while we can’t be in each other’s rooms, we’re allowed to take our one one-hour walk of the day together. When I was told this, I said, “Oh, so like yard time?” I hope the RD found that as funny as I did, but probably not.
I spent all of last night FaceTiming and texting my friends, feeling extremely upset and wallowing in self-pity over the things I am now missing out on. My one friend and I were going to go to the Strip District this weekend, my other friend is turning 21 at the Hofbräuhaus on Monday, and my other group of friends and I had plans to enjoy the mental health day together. Not anymore. Instead I’ll be spending that time in my own solitude, staring out the window with the view of my dorm, and trying to keep myself occupied.
Given that it’s mid-day Friday, I really only have six full days left (praying I test negative on Wednesday). I can do six days. At least I have all the time in the world to work ahead on homework (hence why I’m writing this blog post weeks in advance) which brings me to my internship. I only have deliverable left which is my final paper. I am writing a research/reflection paper on refugee law. I completed the research stage last week (as I mentioned), so I am actually looking forward to writing this paper.
I was hesitant to start this paper because it seemed like a daunting amount of research to take on, but once I started it, I found the cases to be thought-provoking and hard to put down. It helps that I’ve had a lot of practice with case reading and briefing from my political science classes, and my current Legal Research and Writing class class has given me exposure to the basics of legal research plus a list of resources.
I’m hoping that this week I can get an outline of the paper done and continue to be of help where ARYSE needs me. I still plan to attend my after school program on Tuesday, and if I am not scheduled with clients, perhaps attend a staff meeting. I wish I could have gone to more of these, but unfortunately, I either have class or work. As the end of the semester is near, I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I had to work with ARYSE and feel that I have learned a lot out myself and my interests through this position.
Okay, this post is very long and incredibly unfocused, so I’m going to end it here. I’m honestly so bored right now, this feels therapeutic. It also gives me something to look back on if I ever want to remember my first day at the Holiday Inn and a, yet another, weird end to the spring semester.