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Students return to campus for the first day of the fall semester on Monday, August 24, 2020 at the University of Cincinnati's main campus. 

Living on campus at a public university is a hard decision to make during a pandemic. Being a freshman and craving that sense of freedom became a risk I was willing to take. With that high risk in place, after all the caution I took, I still wound up with COVID-19. 

Although the sickness is different for everyone, I have had a pretty stereotypical experience for the average college student. It has been quite the 10-day isolation, and I am here to give you a breakdown of that time.

Two weekends ago, I felt homesick and decided to take a little trip home for the weekend. I was planning on distancing from my family to be safe, but little did I know I was bringing the virus home with me.

That Saturday night, I started getting cold chills and feeling awful. The next morning, I got up and immediately made an hour and fifteen-minute drive to get rapid test results. As I felt in my gut, the results were positive. 

I drove home in shock and sadness, knowing I could not go back to school for over another week. I had to come home to my parents' basement and quarantine in my little brother's bedroom since it is the farthest away from the rest of my family.

The beginning of the week was a little scary. On the second day, it honestly felt like I was in a dream. I was in a loopy and exhausted trance, and I could barely get myself to move. All of that happened on top of cold-like symptoms. 

After I got over the second day, though, the days to follow slowly got better and better. There was humor in being in the basement because of my parents' constant need to yell down the stairs to check on me. My mom and sister would FaceTime me to cure boredom pretty consistently. I found myself completely engaged in binge-watching old "Big Brother" seasons and comparing competitors who were on the show years ago as if I was watching it live. 

I would get sudden bursts of energy and walk around my basement, but they would always be followed by a crash and need for a nap. I spent a lot of my time sleeping, trying to get in any bit of schoolwork I could do and begging my mom for more snacks. I was super lucky not to lose my taste or appetite at any point.

Overall, my experience with COVID-19 seemed to be pretty average for a symptomatic case at 18 years old. I am fortunate to have endured a pretty bad cold, but nothing too severe. Living in my parent's basement again was a blessing in disguise in an odd way. After feeling homesick for a little bit, it is safe to say I got the full dose of my home these past ten days. I am happy to be returning to UC, and my heart goes out to those who have faced much worse consequences due to the virus.

As someone who was not prepared for more than two days back at home, I would love to guide others with quarantine essentials to avoid complete boredom. Also, some things I needed to get me through the sickness in general.

1. Your wallet

I made the mistake of somehow leaving the most essential thing in my dorm, and trust me, online shopping is necessary when you are alone for ten days.

2. Lip balm

I recommend anything by the brand Vaseline. Having lip balm kept me from getting to the point where even my lips were driving me insane.

3. Streaming services

Netflix? Hulu? Disney+? It doesn't matter. Find the show you're going to binge, and I promise you will amaze yourself by how fast you get through it.

4. A journal

I may have a writer's bias, but I think writing about your time in quarantine, or at least jotting moments down, is crucial.

5. A good book

I passed a lot of time reading. It's also a good time to start reading if you haven't in a while because what else is there to do?

6. Cases on cases of water

I'm serious. I went through more water bottles than you could believe.

7. A TV tray

Getting homework done when you feel like you can't get out of bed is a struggle. I recommend investing in a TV tray now to make that a lot less difficult.

8. Vitamins

Keep that body as healthy as you possibly can.

9. Lots of blankets

Having a pile of blankets on demand is exactly what you need for the virus's hots and colds.