Quarantine diary: Kicked off campus

By , Daily Memphian Published: March 24, 2020 4:00 AM CT
Daily Memphian

A J Quinlen

Addie Jo Quinlen is a native Memphian and student at the University of Richmond, class of 2021.

My name is Addie Jo, and I’m one of the millions of U.S. college students suddenly home – my home being Memphis – and taking classes online.

I’m supposed to be at the University of Richmond right now, hanging out with friends, working part-time jobs on campus, and learning in physical classrooms.

Instead, I’ve been taking my dogs to Shelby Farms, where the two of them frolic and splatter me with mud. Pets are a big plus of my surprise return. While I love living on campus in Richmond, I miss my animals while I’m there.

When I’m home, though, I miss my college friends.

<strong>Addie Jo Quinlen</strong>

Addie Jo Quinlen

Coronavirus has disrupted some of my friends’ lives far more than it’s unsettled mine. My senior friends won’t get to have graduation. And my international friends have a real dilemma: Should they stay in the States or go home?

My friend Aaqil flew home to India last week. When he arrived, police immediately took him to the hospital for quarantine. More on that another time. For now, all of his friends are hoping the global situation improves and travel restrictions are lifted by the time summer rolls around, because he’s supposed to be back in the States for his new job in August.

Meanwhile, all my Memphis friends are back in town, but we can’t see each other – you know, social distancing.

All four of my grandparents live in Memphis. Our houses are just minutes apart, but, like everyone else, my family is most worried about exposing our elders to the virus. Fortunately, my grandparents are fairly tech savvy – my grandmother and I plan to FaceTime – but it’s weird that I can’t just drop in for a visit.

Last week also featured my church’s first online service.

Over the weekend, all UR students learned we could choose to take our classes pass/fail this semester. We’d get credit for classes we pass, and no classes this semester would affect our GPAs. I think I’ll take the letter grade – I risk killing my motivation if I take classes pass/fail.

My professors have been in regular communication, updating us on what they plan to do when classes start back up this week. Meanwhile, I’ve been deep cleaning my room, running errands for my family, applying for summer internships, and trying to get work for while I’m home. It’s strange, but the past six days have been my most hectic and productive days in quite a while. And I still can’t get my hands on any toilet paper at Kroger.

With my siblings and me home, “It’s like a step back in time,” my mom said, “like we’ve had snow days or something.” She’s not wrong.


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