Spilling the QuaranTEA: stories of two FAU students living on campus during a pandemic

Editor-In-Chief Colby Guy and Managing Editor Kendall Little share their quarantine experiences and insights at FAU.


Illustration by Cal Guy.

Colby Guy and Kendall Little

Quarantine is a concept that many FAU students have gotten used to since the fall semester started. 356 students have been reported with COVID-19 as of Dec. 23 since FAU allowed students to come back on campus. 

Editor-In-Chief Colby Guy and Managing Editor Kendall Little had different quarantine experiences than each other but shared a lot of commonalities such as food issues and mental health struggles.


Colby Guy | Editor-In-Chief

Issues in IVA

When I returned to campus for my Junior year at FAU, my experience during the Fall 2020 semester was significantly different, and worse, than my past years at the university.

I was left stranded on campus, alone, as the majority of my friend group had decided to stay home for the semester, and my friends did not alert me until the last minute when it was too late for me to cancel my housing.

My classes were all online, so I had chosen to go back to campus to be surrounded by friends who would no longer be there. 

Speaking of classes, they have been absolutely horrifying for me. I have ADHD, so having to attempt to focus on an online lecture in the comfort of my apartment without zoning out or turning on my PlayStation 4 had been impossible, and that was just for the classes that had lectures.

These lectures would take place over Zoom, and a lot of the time, since FAU’s WiFi had been incredibly unreliable for me throughout the semester, I had major issues. I would often get booted from my Zoom lectures and when I was in the lecture, most of the audio was choppy due to lag.

For one of my classes, the professor decided not to hold lectures at all and instead opted to send us YouTube videos that showed us how to use the programs he wanted us to use to design the projects that we had to turn in for his class.

Needless to say, the videos did not help me at all. I was never able to grasp how to use the program and the videos weren’t able to help me with some of the questions I had about using said program.

He was never available to answer any of my questions, so I had to turn in assignments that looked like they had come from a kindergartner.

Most frustrating at all, for me, were the food options on campus. As someone who doesn’t have a driver’s license, I relied heavily on the dining options FAU had, in particular, Wendy’s because the 4-for-4 meal was so affordable, which was all I could afford on my salary.

Wendy’s, Atlantic Dining Hall Express (which replaced Pollo Tropical temporarily), and Jow Jing had initially been open, but by the end of September, all that had been left was Chick-Fil-A, Subway, Starbucks, and Outtakes, which were all conveniently the most expensive places to buy food on campus.

These dining options were closed due to a “tremendous shortfall of revenue”, according to FAU spokesperson Brittany Sylvestri.

I had to go a lot of days without eating, and it got even worse when I was required to quarantine in my apartment since one of my roommates had received a positive result from a COVID-19 test. As it turned out, that result was a false-positive, thankfully, so everyone in our suite was safe.

Since all, except for one, of my roommates had elected to leave campus to quarantine, I was stranded in my room alone. I had no food in my apartment so I had to order Postmates, a food delivery app, every day, and both the Postmates drivers and FAU housing made it ridiculously hard for me to get my food.

My Postmates drivers would always deliver my food to the wrong building, whether it was University Village Apartments or IVA North, as I lived in IVA South. I had to wait for an RA from that building to walk my food all the way up to my room.

Even when it was delivered to the right building, it took an RA about 30 minutes to even go downstairs and bring me my food, so no matter what, I was paying as much as $40 for food that was cold and soggy by the time it got to me.

This, along with my declining mental health from being isolated for all of that time, resulted in me electing to go home for the remaining week of my quarantine period, as I had received two negative tests and was given the green light from the university to do so, but that week alone, along with the rest of the semester without any friends, really killed me.

I had little to no human interaction on any given day and struggled to find ways to cope. My safe haven was always doing work for the University Press and coming into the newsroom to focus my attention on work, so when that was taken away from me during my quarantine period, I was lost.

I had no social life, I had no hobbies, and I sheltered myself inside, wondering to myself if all of this is worth it, but that’s just the effect that living during a pandemic has had on me.

My RA hadn’t done anything to help with that either. They never checked up on me while I was going through my mental health struggles and it felt like they were nowhere to be found this semester.

The pandemic took away my social life, the full experience of my job, and even a lot of the food options I relied so heavily upon, which made this semester more difficult than any other semester I have experienced before.

Colby Guy is the Editor-In-Chief for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @thatguycolbs


Kendall Little | Managing Editor

A Fresh(man) Take

Once my roommates tested positive for COVID-19 and went home to quarantine, I went to the Student Health Services Clinic to get tested. Surprisingly, getting a giant cotton swab stuck up my nose was not the worst experience of my quarantine. 

After walking across campus for the last time before being locked away, my phone rang with a call from FAU’s housing department. They informed me that I would have to move out of my room by 10 pm that night. I was confused because my roommates were all at home; I was completely alone in the suite. 

Three emails and five phone calls later, I was able to remain in my dorm room for the duration of my quarantine. 

Then came the issue of food. I was sent an email with instructions on how to use FAU’s mobile dining application, GET, to order my meals during isolation. The app was designed to let students order their dining hall food ahead of time with a few simple taps. The instructions seemed fairly easy, but when I opened the app, I was met with several error codes. Whenever I attempted to select ‘isolation’, the app gave drop-off times at outrageous hours like 2-3 am or the ‘isolation’ option did not work at all. 

I ended up downloading Shipt, an app that allows the user to put in a grocery order that is delivered to their door. I used my own money for the Shipt order and abandoned my meal plan for the 10-day quarantine. 

Being alone in my dorm room brought many different emotions to the surface. I battled with loneliness, depression, and anxiety, along with waves of peacefulness. 

On one hand, I was able to shower on my own schedule and play music as loud as I wanted without the risk of upsetting my roommates. I didn’t have to use earbuds to watch Netflix and I could leave any doors open that I wanted.

On the other hand, I was completely alone. I had no human contact for 10 days and only had my phone to keep in touch with others. I didn’t have anyone to talk to or laugh with for over a week, and it took a toll on my mental health.

I spent days in bed with no motivation to sit at my desk and complete virtual classes. The only walking I did was to the bathroom or my fridge. I missed walking around campus and finding new places to eat meals. I missed seeing my friends at the dining hall and I even missed wearing a mask because wearing a mask meant I was going somewhere. 

With an already disconnected college experience thus far, since Fall 2020 is my first semester at FAU, quarantine made it even worse. 

The few friends I had made were making new ones and having new experiences while I stayed in my lonely dorm room. 

My test results came back negative, but I still had to wait out the rest of my quarantine period as a precaution. 

The day I got out of quarantine, I packed my bags and left FAU for a week and a half. I couldn’t stand to be around campus and wanted to be with people that made me happy. 

As cases rise, I fear that I’ll have to go through quarantine at FAU again. I’d gladly take 10 COVID tests over quarantining alone again. 

Kendall Little is the Managing Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet her @klittlewrites