OPINION: A letter from a Kilkenny student in isolation

Nineteen-year-old isolated after onset of Covid19 symptoms

Today marks my eighth day of quarantine.

What started as a tickle in my throat soon brought mild headaches and some tightness in my chest, so I took the decision to self-isolate in my room to minimise my chance of passing along the virus.

Thankfully, my symptoms are extremely mild. If I were experiencing them in normal circumstances, I’d probably go about my day without taking much notice of them at all.

This does mean that I don’t qualify for a test, but as a close contact of mine was recently found to be positive, I’ve been told I can assume that I have picked up the virus also and have thus acted accordingly.

Fortunately, I came home as soon as college was cancelled, and therefore my contact with others was limited to those living in my household from the get-go.

As for self-isolation, I’ve been trying to keep some semblance of a routine, which probably allows me to cling on to some final shred of normality, though everything can feel a bit monotonous at times – especially when I finish up work in the evening time and am faced with hours on end to fill alone in my room.

Trying to keep up with normal college work in circumstances that are anything but normal is also a bit difficult, and the uncertainty surrounding how my modules will be examined doesn’t exactly help things, but still, it’s good to be kept busy when I have so much time on my hands.

Luckily, I live at home with my parents so I’m definitely being well looked after. Meals are delivered at regular intervals and the occasional conversation is had through the door.

Generally, I’ve been trying to avoid diving too deeply into the news as I feel this may not be the best time for push notifications and statistics giving me every single update on the virus in real time.

However, on the flip side, I have a renewed appreciation for the technology I probably took for granted before.

I don’t think I’ve ever used Facetime as much as I have in the past week and a half!

Also, this is also probably the first time I can remember seeing an outpouring of positivity online in such a ubiquitous way.

All of my feeds are full of good news stories, initiatives designed to spread hope and positivity, and so many accounts of people being generous, and kind, and completely selfless. I hope this is a compassion and positivity we can bring beyond the crisis.

Thinking about the front-line workers – from those in the hospitals to those in the supermarkets – has made simply staying inside all day, in a rather insular world of my own, seem a bit useless by comparison.

At the end of the day, however, I know that the best action I can actually take is to stay at home and do nothing!

The best way we can fight this together, is to stay apart.