Home, Alone: A Meditation on Social Distancing


Social distancing sucks. There’s no other way to put it. Whether you’re back at home with your parents or hibernating in your overpriced New York City rental, self-isolation is beyond unbearable. 

To stay or not to stay in NYC? You, a college student, are trapped between the rock of going feral from lack of human contact, and the hard place of killing your younger siblings in a fit of cabin fever. I experienced both options for two weeks and can attest: Both of them suck (yes, even if you’re an introvert). To look for the silver lining or not to look?

Fellow freshmen, I’m sure you have spent countless nights in your old bedroom, wondering: “Why did I suddenly crash-land back in my paternal nest?” At first, you’re grateful to see your family — and that’s normal, you missed them — but then you remember all their habits that you most certainly didn’t miss, and your life starts to resemble an eternal hell, in which you are shown the worst moments of your childhood and adolescence on repeat. 

Is there a silver lining? If you’re lucky and your parents are willing, you can sort out all the stuff that you left unsaid over the years. However, that type of overwhelming candor may well result in eviction, so proceed with caution. 

The first impulse you get no matter how many people you’re stuck with is to KonMari your life. Faced with a prospect of a week without direct sunlight (’tis the fate of all New Yorkers whose windows don’t face the street), I decided that I would finally complete all the chores I have been putting off. Alas! Chores are like heads on the hydra that Hercules fought. As soon as you complete one, three more appear in its place. 

Silver lining? An apartment does tend to look better disinfected and compartmentalized, but at what psychological cost? 

Ever stared out a window for more than an hour? Well, now you have the opportunity to do so. With all of your family at their respective work-from-home spaces, 24 hours a day of human contact amounts to almost nothing. So, you start having conversations with yourself. Or at least I did (out loud at that, but I do enjoy hearing myself speak, as the unfortunate people stuck with me in an online lecture will gladly confirm). Introspection is an amazing thing for personal growth, but when you have too much of it, it turns into a mental exercise in self-flagellation, especially if you’re a Cancer. 

In this case, the silver lining is the fact that the majority of your friends are equally bored. Time to think up some conversation starters, since there’s not going to be any personal drama in a while (great shame for my Slytherin soul).

Could it really get any worse? Yes. It is due time to stop whining and get on with your life. Imagine if Fordham didn’t close. Yes, you’d still be able to see your friends face to face but that’s because you’d probably share the same isolation room with them, chained to a bed completed with a surrounding sealed plastic border. 

I’m not going to take a life coach stance and tell you that this is all for your personal betterment. You are very likely to be very bored, and probably already are. However, there are things that can make you less bored. I, for example, took up cross-stitching in order to prove that I can repeatedly stab something over 200 times. Check back in on this column in two weeks for more updates.