Faced with the possibility of another online semester, an unbelievably tense national political climate and a crushing sense of uncertainty surrounding everything she cares about, Notre Dame sophomore Katherine Davis has come to the somber realization that the results of her recent COVID-19 test constitute the only shred of positivity in her life right now. Davis, who tested positive for the virus on Tuesday and is currently quarantining in the Morris Inn, simply added her recent diagnosis to the long list of disappointments and frustrations that have come to characterize the year 2020 for her and the vast majority of her fellow students. Reached by Scholastic for comment, Davis had mixed reviews about her quarantine experience.
“I mean, I don’t have to worry about the murder hornets in here, so that’s pretty nice,” Davis told reporters. “Although I do have more time time to dwell on the crippling sense of existential dread threatening to overwhelm me at any moment, which is never good.” Davis did, however, go on to note the simple pleasures of life in quarantine, including the ability to cough without being instantly judged by everyone in a 20-foot radius.
This sentiment was echoed by John McMurtry, a senior quarantining in his off-campus apartment. “There’s something exhilarating about knowing you have a deadly virus coursing through your veins and then realizing you had better get started on your English homework,” said McMurtry during a virtual interview. “People keep calling me and telling me to stay positive,” he continued, “which is ironic because I’m pretty sure ‘positive’ is the one thing I don’t want to be right now.”
Reporters from Scholastic also caught up with Chad Melon, a junior who was recently seen making the “walk of shame” across campus to the COVID-19 testing center. “In a normal year, you see a kid lugging his suitcase across the quad on a Wednesday afternoon and you smile to yourself. You think, ‘Wow, that kid just got back from the liquor store. He must like to party,’” said Melon, “Now, everyone just stares at you like you’re a freak.”
For these students and the hundreds of others like them, however, hope is not lost. Davis, for one, takes solace in the university’s robust health and safety protocols. "Whenever I get sad,” began Davis, “I just remember that university officials stockpiled ten thousand gallons of hand sanitizer in preparation for our return. That makes me feel better.”