After being super vigilant with wearing my mask to keep myself protected from COVID-19, I decided to take it off for a few hours to enjoy singing along at the USC Welcome Back Concert featuring Flo Milli, Rebecca Black, and Jaleel. A few days later I felt a sore throat and a higher temperature and knew right away that I had COVID. I didn’t want to believe it so I took two rapid tests and they both quickly came back positive. While I was really disappointed since it was my first time having the virus, I felt safe knowing that the next few days would consist of isolation by  myself. After letting USC know of my positive test results, I was given a hotel assignment in Little Tokyo so the next morning I packed my bags and made my way to the hotel where I easily checked in and got to my room. My room was a standard hotel room with two queen size beds, a bathroom, and a great view of the Los Angeles skyline.

It kind of sucked to have gotten COVID in the first week of school and in my birthday week, but I was really grateful for having this opportunity to quarantine by myself from USC because in addition to the hotel room, they gave me a $70 DoorDash budget per day which allowed me to splurge on nice restaurants I otherwise wouldn’t pay for. After a busy welcome week at USC, it was nice to have some alone time to put myself back into the headspace of being a USC student. Just like last semester, most of my professors had a virtual option for those who cannot make it to class in person. I was at first sad when one of my professors did not have an online option to attend class, but they explained that before the pandemic, people were sick all the time and just didn’t go to class and caught up soon after they were healthy again and these words gave me some comfort because it’s true.

 

While I was enjoying the alone time at first, I got lonely really quick. The fact that I wasn’t allowed to leave the room for any circumstance meant I was locked in the small hotel room with windows that only opened 3 to 4 inches wide, enough to just get a whiff of fresh air. There wasn’t much to do other than do homework and lay down on the comfy bed so I had to find things to do. I binge watched Abbott Elementary and video chatted with friends and family updating them on my symptoms. I made a couple of Tiktoks that I posted to my public page and did daily Blogilates PIIT workouts in between the two beds (which I totally recommend doing!! This one is my favorite). I was able to retest on the sixth day of quarantine in which if I tested negative I could leave or if I tested positive I had to stay another five days. I counted my lucky stars and was released on the sixth day. 

 

If I were to begin my quarantine again, I would ensure I had ALL my toiletries and items I use every day packed, because not having chapstick wasn’t ideal. I would also pack the clothes that I would need throughout the week, which for me included a collared shirt I wish I brought for an interview. Don’t forget electronics either because I had my graphing calculator but it died and I had no way to charge it. I was really smart to bring a personal fan because the air conditioning didn’t always work and I brought my squishmallow and favorite blanket for comfort. Lastly, I made sure to reuse my water bottles and let the water cool down in the mini fridge throughout the day and night because it is easy to get dehydrated when you’re sick. Overall, I rate this experience a 9 out of 10. I wouldn’t do it again though.

Mateo Sabio Paese

Mateo Sabio Paese

MAJOR: Biomedical Engineering, Molecular-Cellular Emphasis YEAR: Class of 2025 HOMETOWN: Menlo Park, California PRONOUNS: he/him/his INSTA: @ matew0ah On campus I am involved in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers as the SHPE Jr. Director and work in the Viterbi Admission and Student Engagement Office. I also work part-time in the USC Village.

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