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Thoughts from Quarantine: Broken Routines

This week, we’re introducing a new series called, “Thoughts from Quarantine.” Every week, three of our editors will answer a variation of this simple question: “How are you feeling?” This week’s prompt is, “How are you feeling about the differences between your previously normal routine and new reality?”


Chris Vinel, Editor-in-Chief:

CINCINNATI — I roll up to the stop sign and look both ways. 

It’s 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, and I’m driving my Ford Mustang with the convertible top down. I’m singing some oldies song while turning onto River Road. One of my brothers sits in the passenger seat, the other in the back. 

I’m happy.

“Boys, I want you to always remember something,” I say randomly, breaking a conversational lull. “No matter what’s going on in the world, there’s always good. You just have to find it.”

Singing convertible rides with my brothers? This is my good.

If it weren’t for the global pandemic, I wouldn’t be home right now. 

I’d be in Oxford, laying on my bed in Flower Hall, probably procrastinating on homework and living my own life while my brothers live theirs. Our communication would continue to be infrequent.

But I’ve gotten a lot of family time recently. I don’t talk to them enough when I’m at school.

Sure, I wish the coronavirus would vanish. Most of the time, I wish I was at Miami. 

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But it’s not all negative. Look for the good.

“Thanks for going with me, boys,” I say 15 minutes later, as we pull into our neighborhood. “I appreciate you.”


Emily Dattilo, Managing Editor:

CHICAGO — On Wednesdays in Oxford, I wake up at 9:15 a.m. 

I get dressed, grab a granola bar for breakfast and meet my friends Rachel and Duard — all three of us are undergraduate assistants for Journalism 101 — at the bus stop near my apartment. We chat all the way to Upham Hall, backpacks slung over our shoulders, and walk into a classroom overcrowded with desks. 

I always complained about that room. 

During Wednesday classes, we each meet with our small group of eight or nine students. I took these in-person conversations entirely for granted — we all did. 

Back home in Chicago, I wake up at 8:30 a.m. Central time. I keep forgetting I’m not on Eastern time. I stumble out of bed, grab a smoothie, throw on a sweatshirt and flip my computer open to attend Journalism 101 via Zoom. 

I see Duard and Rachel have joined the call as well, but there was no walk to class to catch up and talk. 

I lead my small group discussion from my bedroom at home, which goes well despite one faulty microphone. I realize I miss that old classroom with too many desks. 

Class ends with the click of a button. 


Julia Arwine, Managing Editor

OXFORD, Ohio — I set my alarm for 9:30, for 10:00, for 11:00, but more often than not I’m not out of bed before noon. I eat cereal at 1 p.m.; I make dinner at what is, for some, bedtime. I don’t feel tired until at least two in the morning.

Two months ago, I barely spent any time in this house. I was up early, home late and rarely felt like I had a moment to breathe. Now, I have nothing but time and nowhere to be, but the calm is deceiving — the work I have to do is still there, only my motivation to do it has dwindled.

I used to go to King Library in the early hours of the morning, put on my headphones and power through my projects for hours on end. I could never feel productive in the room where I slept or in a communal space. Now, in this small house, those are my only options. Doing assignments is like pulling teeth. 

Every day I fall further behind.

Campus is a five-minute walk away. It might as well be a hundred miles.

Sometimes the weather is warm, and I sit on our front porch. I read. I watch cars go by, I watch people out for walks, I watch the train come screaming down its tracks. I eat watermelon with my roommate, the juice dripping freely, the sun soaking into our skin.

I wait, and I hope, for summer.