Perspective: The life of a student in quarantine

Freshman Jonah Kost was sent home to quarantine after being exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. To get a glimpse of what life for a student in quarantine looks like, he chronicled his days in the following log.


At around noon today, I was in my car on the way to get coffee before class. I received a call from campus health saying that I was exposed to COVID the middle of last week. Since I was in close contact for a longer period of time, I had to evacuate campus immediately. Even though I haven’t shown symptoms and haven’t taken a test, I have to go back home for about two weeks, until Oct. 2. I feel normal and healthy right now.

After I hung up, I remember laughing. I usually always laugh when I’m not supposed to, probably as a coping mechanism. I thought, “I can’t believe this is happening to me.” I feel like I always wear my mask in public and do a good job of social distancing, so how could I have been exposed? This past month, I would always hear in class or in the dining hall that someone I knew got taken away to quarantine, but I didn’t think it would be me. At least, not this soon into the school year. After I stopped laughing, though, I started yelling and turned the music up really loud. I was extremely upset. I didn’t want to leave my friends for two weeks and have to do all of my classes on Zoom. To be honest, I hate doing school online, and I find it difficult to learn. What makes it even worse, though, is that all of my friends will be in class while I have to study at home. Everyone will be having experiences and making memories that I won’t get to share with them. It really bothered me.

This week was also going to be a big week for me. My ASA chapel induction is tomorrow, and I have my first senate meeting on Thursday, both of which I will be attending via Zoom. I was really looking forward to both of those things because I have worked hard to achieve them. It is something that I will have to miss out on, and that also made me really sad.

I know that I have it luckier than most, though. I had the option of staying off-campus in Sioux Falls or going home to quarantine. Luckily, my family allowed me to come home and stay in my room. I also feel healthy right now, while some others are very sick. It affects everyone differently, and I am grateful that I have the resources to be able to quarantine comfortably.

I went back to my dorm room to pack up some things. I grabbed a lot of shirts and sweatpants and packed up all of my books. Packing up my dorm room also made me sad. Since I’m a freshman, it took me a while to adjust to living in a new place away from my family. I felt like I was just beginning to feel secure and comfortable in my classes, with friends and living in the dorms. I was having so much fun, and all of the sudden, everything had to be put on hold for me to go home and quarantine. I know that quarantine is important and helps stop the spread, but it doesn’t make leaving any less hard. I have grown to love Augie and being on campus, and having it be ripped away was more difficult than I thought it would be. I would always joke with my mom about how if I had to quarantine, I would get to come home and spend time with my family. The second I got in the car, though, all I wanted to do was stay on campus. I already had plans with friends to watch the RBG documentary this week (rest in peace) and go to SkyZone because my friend is a manager there. Now, I have to wait a few weeks. It’s not the end of the world but disappointing nonetheless.

I have already received emails from staff about Zoom links and how to keep up with work while I am gone. I appreciate this a lot. I don’t know how it is at other schools, but I am glad that my professors are making sure that I don’t fall through the cracks when I’m gone. It will be a difficult adjustment for me, but they are making sure that I will be able to make it through without missing a beat. 

I feel like I am also going to have a lot of free time while I’m here at home. At Augie, my time is spent between classes, homework and extracurriculars. Being at home though, I don’t need to walk from the different buildings to make it to different classes or make sure I make it to the dining hall on time. I also don’t have work-study while I’m gone, which will give me more free time. My workload this semester isn’t too difficult or time-consuming, and I’m sure that without distractions, I can probably get it done faster. I have some books I want to read, and I’m also helping with my old high school’s speech team through FaceTime. So, I’ll probably be working on that in my free time. I also have received too many Netflix recommendations, so I hope I can knock those out while I’m here, too.

I feel like I am also going to have a lot of free time while I’m here at home. At Augie, my time is spent between classes, homework and extracurriculars. Being at home though, I don’t need to walk from the different buildings to make it to different classes or make sure I make it to the dining hall on time. I also don’t have work-study while I’m gone, which will give me more free time. My workload this semester isn’t too difficult or time-consuming, and I’m sure that without distractions, I can probably get it done faster. I have some books I want to read, and I’m also helping with my old high school’s speech team through FaceTime. So, I’ll probably be working on that in my free time. I also have received too many Netflix recommendations, so I hope I can knock those out while I’m here, too.

Right now, I feel a mix of disappointment and loneliness. I hope it gets better tomorrow.


I thought today was a good day, quarantine-wise. I was able to settle back in at home and try to get my bearings after being at school for a month. I don’t have actual classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I use those two days to work on homework. Today, I called the clinic and asked for a COVID test. I don’t have any symptoms, but they said they would test me since I was in close contact with someone.

The worst part about today was missing the ASA induction. I know it is only one event, but it is sad to have to miss something like that. I was able to watch live on Zoom, but it wasn’t the same as being there. I also like to dress up and wear suits and that kind of thing, so it was a bummer that I didn’t get to participate. I was really looking forward to being there, so I hope I didn’t miss too much.

The Augustana health department hasn’t contacted me today. I actually haven’t received much communication from Augie today, which I thought was a little strange. I told them I left to go home yesterday, and they responded “ok.” I guess I’m not sure what else they would say to me, but I thought they would check in to make sure I made it back safe.

Not much went on today. I got to spend some time with my family, and after not being able to see them for a month, I thought it was nice. I love being at Augie, but it is a good feeling to be back somewhere that I feel extremely comfortable. Because of this, I’m glad I had the opportunity to come back home. I feel like I have more freedom here, even though I still am quarantining. I don’t know how it is back in Sioux Falls at the other quarantine buildings, but here, I am able to get food when I want from the kitchen or shower when I want. I feel like I can relax here.

I am most nervous about Zoom classes. Personally, I don’t enjoy Zoom. It’s fine for a class or two, but I enjoy learning in the classroom. A lot of my classes are discussion-based, so it’s nice to be able to talk back and forth and see everyone. I feel like being on Zoom for five classes tomorrow will wear on me, but I guess I will have to wait and see.

I don’t have any symptoms and feel completely healthy, physically. I’m a bit stressed because I have a lot to do this week. I have essays, assignments and other things for extracurriculars due. I hope I am able to keep up with it all. Being alone during the day is tough. I try and sit outside for a little bit a couple times a day, not only because it is nice, but because I think I need it for my mental health. Being stuck in a room staring at my computer for hours on end is not good for anyone, so I’m glad I have options to go outside, walk around, sit in my backyard, etc.

I keep in touch with all of my friends, which is good. I get snaps and texts very often telling me what’s going on on campus, with other friends and classes. I’m lucky that I have good friends who still keep up with me, even though they can’t see me.

I am still disappointed, but I am getting used to my new living situation.


I am writing this at about 10 p.m. tonight, and I am completely exhausted. I spent the majority of my day at my desk on Zoom. I had five classes today: two in the morning, two in the afternoon and one at night.

The morning classes weren’t bad at all. I had my coffee, a blanket and was pretty cozy. The hardest part for me about Zoom classes is staying focused and present in what’s going on. When I get enough sleep, I love the mornings. Especially in the fall, the temperature is just right, and it wakes me up. I prefer morning classes because of my alertness. I found that this helped a lot for Zoom class. I was able to pay attention to the screen and do the exercises we were doing in class.

My second class of the day is my FYS class, probably my favorite of the day. I enjoy what we are learning, but the best part is seeing all of my friends. I found out quickly during Welcome Week that I click with everyone in my group. I don’t feel forced to be with them at all, and we all get lunch together, study together and hang out on the weekends. This was incredibly hard over Zoom because I felt like I was missing out. I was the only one in class on Zoom, and I could hear them all talking and laughing while I sat three hours away at my desk. They all said ‘hi’ to me, which was fun. Some of them were actually texting me during the class about their day and how they felt about me being gone. It made me feel like I belonged somewhere, and I appreciated that, especially now that I’m not there. Even though I’m sad that I won’t be there for a while, I know that they’ll be excited for me to come back.

After FYS, I have about two hours before my next class. After two full Zoom classes, all I wanted to do was eat lunch, have another coffee and go on social media. There is a lot I could be doing, but I thought I earned a break. I did not want to stare at a screen for any longer. I also got a text from the health department asking how I was doing and if I had any symptoms. I told them no, and they said they would check back soon.

I am already feeling laptop fatigue. I took a nap, and by the time I woke up, my third class of the day already started. Lucky for me, it is always videotaped and can be accessed on Canvas. I just needed a break and did not want to stare at my screen anymore. By the time my fourth class came around, I wanted to do anything but stare at my computer and listen to a lecture. If I was in class, I would be able to listen and enjoy it. But being on Zoom is different. For some of the classes, I can only hear the professor, which is hard when discussions are had. There will be a minute or two of silence that will go by because a student is talking, and I can’t hear them. This is just a technical thing, but it makes it hard to stay engaged.

After these classes, I took another nap and FaceTimed a friend. I didn’t know how much loneliness would hit me. My family works during the day, so I’m alone from when I wake up to about 6 p.m. When I was home, I would be at school or work, so I’m not used to the isolation. Any contact with the outside world is great, and it’s nice to catch up with friends.

I did homework, which was difficult once again. I don’t really enjoy being at a computer for long periods of time in general, but doing it all day feels extra tough for me. I got a little bit done but not as much as I wanted. I hope this gets better tomorrow.

My final class of the day is a theatre class that I take for my scholarship. It’s every Wednesday night for about an hour and a half to two hours. While I love everyone in the class, I did not want to be on my laptop anymore. Luckily, it went by fast because I was in good company.

Now, I’m back at my laptop writing this and have more work to do. I will just have to push through the fatigue and grind until I’m done with what I have to do. Tomorrow should be better because I don’t have class, but I need a break from my computer today.

I am feeling good, though. It was nice to talk to my friends and know that they are missing me at dinner and in class. My quarantine also got moved up a day. There was a mixup with the timeline, and my fourteen days will be up next Thursday instead of Friday. That’s good for me, because I will be able to have in-person class that Friday instead of online.

If you were wondering what an all day of Zoom class looks like, it looks like multiple cups of coffee, dry eyes and extreme exhaustion. Wear your masks: not wanting to go to Zoom class feels a lot worse than not wanting to walk to an in-person class.


Not much has happened today. I didn’t have classes, so I mainly worked on homework. Once again, I don’t have any symptoms. I received a call from the clinic, and my results came back as negative, so I don’t have COVID. It was great news to hear, but I am still not allowed back on campus for another week.

As the days go on, I feel more comfortable here and less sad about not being at school. I still want to go back, of course, but I think it was just a shock to go from my everyday life to being back at home.

I had my first ASA meeting today over Zoom, and it went well. It’s a bit hard to participate over camera, so I mainly listened and took everything in. Next time we meet, I will be able to do so in person.

Life is just kind of normal right now. I don’t have any strong emotions about being in quarantine, and it’s nice knowing that I can be a bit closer to my family in the house, since I am negative. I’ve been exercising every day now as part of my routine, and I also got a Keurig, which was fun. I’ll be able to bring it back with me to school. I have a lot of work to do, as always, and I felt like I had more energy to do it today, now that I’m settled in. My friends are still texting me about school, and I don’t feel like I am missing out on too much right now.


Today, I only had two classes, and they were both in the morning. I woke up pretty early because I had an exam at 9 a.m. I made myself some coffee, did some last minute studying and took my test. The whole class was on Zoom, and the exam was online, so that made it easier. I don’t know what the accommodations would be if the test was in person, but I was in quarantine. I guess I just got lucky.

My second class, FYS, also went pretty smoothly. We were peer reviewing each other’s essays in class, so it was pretty quiet. I didn’t miss out on being over Zoom. After class, I made some lunch and went running. Exercise is something that I need to set more time aside anyway to do, so I’m glad I’m able to be more consistent with it here. I hope that when I get back, I still find time to do it because it’s pretty important.

I did homework, hung out with my family and saw a friend that I haven’t seen in a while. I think that knowing for sure that I don’t have COVID has taken some stress away from the situation. I don’t have to worry about spreading it to my family or others. It was also my sister’s 12th birthday today. I was planning on coming down to surprise my family this weekend anyway so I could see her today, so I guess it worked out that I got sent home this week. I have a lot to do this weekend, and I’m sure I’ll be able to get it done.

I feel mentally healthy as well. I didn’t feel too sad, and I still feel connected with my friends and classmates. Everyone has been very communicative with me, and I appreciate it.


I thought that today was a really good day. I think that, for me, being at college has been hard because I don’t find as much time to just hang out by myself. I used to be pretty good about self care in high school. If I knew that I needed time for myself, I would stay in and watch Netflix. In college, even on the weekends, I find it difficult to find time just to be alone and hang out. When I am alone, I am usually doing homework or studying. Today, I did work but also went for a walk, caught up on some Netflix and listened to music. I thought it was very needed, especially for the crazy week that I have had.

I haven’t heard much from Augie. I don’t have any symptoms, and I’m negative, so I’m not expecting much. I’m not worried, but I thought they might reach out more. I’m sure that if I did have COVID, they would be more in touch with me, but they haven’t. I’m not upset about it, just laying out the facts.

I feel normal. Not really sad, not overly happy. It was just a normal day for me.


I got more work done today, but other than that, I just spent my time relaxing. Sunday is usually my most productive day because it seems like everything is due at midnight.

I feel good. The days are all kind of running together now, and it feels like forever since I’ve been back at Augie. It’s only been seven days but feels longer. I’ve really gotten into a rhythm here, which is both a good thing and bad. I’ve reached the halfway mark of quarantine and know what the days are like. I know what I need to do during the day and feel comfortable here. I hope that going back to my life at Augie isn’t another thing I have to get used to. I don’t know what the adjustment will be like.

I feel healthy and normal, but I’ve been getting less and less sleep. I’ve settled into being alone most of the day, so I just find things to keep myself busy. Finding new albums or artists to listen to and playing the game “Among Us” has really gotten me through the weekend. With the game, I usually FaceTime a group of friends and play with them, so that’s another way I am connecting with other people. I am enjoying the time to myself, though. I feel like I’m never really alone at Augie, which also has its pros and cons. I am definitely ready to go back, though.


Another day of Zoom class. Today wasn’t as bad as my first day, which was good. I only had three classes, and I’m getting more used to them. Of course, I would rather be in class, but it’s not as bad as I initially thought it was.

A week ago today was the day I got sent home. The time has gone by surprisingly fast. I didn’t expect that. I thought it was going to feel like I’ve been here a month by the time I got back to Augie, but I only have two more full days left. I am hoping to stay productive so I don’t have to spend my first days back doing a whole bunch of homework. I guess we will see how that turns out.

I’m not sad anymore. I am beginning to feel excited about going back. The anticipation is what is really getting me through, because I know that I will be back any day now. I miss my friends. We are already making plans for when I come back, which I think is good. I don’t want it to feel like I ever left. I wonder how fast the time went for my Augie friends.


Today was a crazy day. It was debate day, a day I was both looking forward to and dreading at the same time. I’ve always been interested in politics. As both an ASA senator and government major, I think that might be obvious. The anticipation for the debate really took over my day. I slept in really late, and the day went by super fast. I didn’t get much done, but after the debate, I really did not want to do anything. I’m not going to get into it, but let’s just say it really upset me. I eventually got some work done, and now I’m writing this.

I just want to go back to school. Is it Thursday yet?


Today is my last day of quarantine, and I’m more than excited to drive back to Sioux Falls tomorrow. I had my last day of online class, and it went by super fast. I got some work done but spent a lot of my evening hanging out with family. They all go to work and school early in the morning, so I won’t get to see them before I leave. While quarantine has definitely been a detour, I’m thankful for the time I got to spend with my family. I will miss having my own bathroom and having more peace and quiet. I’ll miss having the house to myself during the day and being back in the town I grew up in, even though I was so excited to move all summer (and pretty much all of senior year). I’m not looking forward to packing everything up, though.

When I think about it, I’m sure the adjustment back to school won’t be as stressful as I thought it would be. I don’t have class Thursday, so I can spend the day catching up with friends and doing homework. I also love long drives, so that’s something to look forward to. I already have plans for the weekend, so I know that my friends are still there for me and excited for me to come back.

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