Students talk quarantine successes, struggles

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Staff Reporter

Approximately two weeks ago, Gov. J. B. Pritzker issued a “stay-at-home” order for the entire state of Illinois in an attempt to slow down the coronavirus’ spread. The quarantine has been in effect since March 21 and will continue to be in effect until at least April 30.

With the coronavirus outbreak, things have been uneasy or hectic for everybody ― that includes Eastern students.

The quarantine and Eastern’s decision to switch to remote learning has made a real effect on the lives of Eastern students.

In just a few weeks, students have had to make rapid changes to their social lives, and that transition did not come without challenges.

Amid all the chaos, students have been trying to find ways to remain calm and keep busy while in quarantine.

Despite everything, they continue to look for the bright side and for forms of entertainment in this life-changing situation.

Andrew Basco, a sophomore English major, has been staying in his hometown during this quarantine, and he said he has taken this as an opportunity to relax and enjoy doing what he loves.

“I’ve just been catching up on a lot of Netflix shows,” Basco said. “I’ve just been relaxing ― just Netflix and video games. I’ve also been doing a lot of reflecting during this quarantine. You can really take this time to reflect on yourself.”

Nayeli Vazquez, a sophomore communications and Spanish double major, has been living back home as well and said she is happy to have her dog around during these tough times.

“I wanted to take my dog to Eastern, but I couldn’t, so having my dog while I’m doing my homework is great,” Vazquez said.

Senior psychology major Victoria Arciniega said she is also happy to be back home during this quarantine. She was initially nervous hearing the news of the quarantine but has now welcomed it as an opportunity to spend time with her loved ones.

“I am home now, and I usually tend to get very homesick when I’m back at EIU, but now I’m here with my siblings and my parents,” Arciniega said. “I’ve been doing a lot of painting lately with my sister, and I’ve just been hanging out a lot with my family ― we usually have game nights during the weekends.”

Alyssa Vergara, a senior secondary English education major, has found ways to keep herself busy and to spend time with her family.

“(I’m happy) I get to be back home with my family and make sure that my brother stays on task for his education,” Vergara said. “Also, I help my brother with learning Spanish. We practice daily (which also) helps keep me entertained during the quarantine.”

Additionally, Vergara has also been doing home workouts, which she said has helped her a lot in alleviating her stress and keeping her from boredom.

Not all students are staying back home during quarantine though. Some, like Valen Fulton, a sophomore art major, have had to stay at Eastern.

Fulton said she had a lot of concerns about the quarantine, especially because she has been struggling with her mental health, but she is doing what she can to stay positive.

“One of the biggest problems I’ve faced during this time is trying to keep going,” Fulton said. “Being locked inside, not going anywhere, seeing the same thing every day does a damper on my mental health. I keep myself from not going insane by taking care of my plants. I also have enjoyed reading and painting during this time.”

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].