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The Dartmouth
April 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Quarantine Routine: A Day In The Life

I used to be a big fan of routines; my weekly structure provided me with the consistency I thought I needed. It was comforting. If you asked me to recall what my Thursdays looked like this past winter, I could provide you with a slightly alarming amount of detail: what time my alarms were set for (8:45 if I was feeling ambitious), the time I actually woke up (9:45, leaving me with just enough time to rush to my 10A), what I ate for lunch (most likely a brie and apple sandwich from KAF) and where I studied between classes (2FB).

And sure, maybe that sounds a bit monotonous and maybe I left a little more room for spontaneity than I’m leading on, but you get the idea — I was more or less a creature of habit. But my routines fell apart during the pandemic. All the days started to blend together, and I found myself struggling to remember what day of the week it was. Time felt disrupted.   

So here I am now: back on campus, in phase two of quarantine, routine-less and writing about a day in my life. It sure feels strange. 

9:00 A.M. Wake up and scroll through TikTok for about 30 minutes. Am I proud of the fact that I start every day with an app that a mere six months ago I was making fun of? No, not really. Is this really what I do after waking up every day? Yes, absolutely. 

9:30 A.M. Espresso. This is the one part of my day that has remained unchanged. My Nespresso machine is probably the one item I would take with me to a desert island. I still miss the double shot chocolate milks from KAF, but this is the next best thing. I slept through breakfast today — not so unusual for me — so I broke into my stash of Lara bars that I keep in my closet.  

10:00 A.M. Skincare. One positive outcome of my TikTok consumption is that I’ve been introduced to “skinfluencers” — social media influencers who recommend skincare products. So, now I have a very elaborate skincare routine. Afterwards, I water my plant and take my temperature to complete the Temperature Self-Assessment survey.

11:00 A.M. Take a (socially distanced) walk. Getting outside is definitely the best part of my day. Right now, my favorite places to walk are Occom Pond and Pine Park. The beginning of fall has — in my opinion — the absolute best weather. Some leaves are already beginning to change, and I can’t wait for peak foliage.  

12:00 P.M. Midday is where things get a bit interesting. And by interesting, I mean I’ve succumbed to my boredom, and I’ll start to fill my time with random activities. Today, I relived the golden era of childhood television shows and rewatched some Drake & Josh episodes on Hulu. I finally finished decorating my dorm room and spent an unnecessary 20 minutes hanging up string lights. Exciting stuff, really.  

1:00 P.M. Lunch. Expert tip: Save the peanut butter from breakfast to eat with the apples from lunch — it’s a game changer.  

2:00 P.M. FaceTime. I’ve been using this time to catch up with friends from home and family. I remember freshman year I barely called home at all. I wanted to seem independent and keep myself busy. Looking back, I definitely should’ve taken more time to pause during orientation week. Now I really value taking the time to call my loved ones. 

4:00 P.M. Organize my closet. I once again packed way too many clothes, but at least they all actually fit in my closet this year. I also did some online shopping, which I must admit is very counterproductive. 

5:30 P.M. Dinner and some more Hulu.  

8:00 P.M. Another walk. It was dark outside by the time I made my way back to my dorm. It was a clear night, so the stars were pretty bright. It made me reminisce on nights spent walking to the golf course to stargaze during freshman year. Those nights usually feel like part of a very distant past, but tonight it felt strangely familiar. Maybe it’s because the uncertainty of life right now reminds me of the nervous excitement I felt on my first move-in day.

9:00 P.M. Shower. Listening to music in the shower is a must for me, so I always make sure to curate a playlist beforehand. 

9:30 P.M. Try to get some work done. Although classes just started, I still feel like I could be falling behind. And somehow my inbox is already flooded with unread emails. 

12:00 A.M. I severely messed up my sleep schedule over the past few months, so I’ve been trying to get to bed earlier. I’m not quite sure if midnight counts as early, but hey, progress is progress. 

So there it is: an extremely uneventful day in my life during quarantine. To be honest, consistency is still what feels comfortable for me. I’d like to be able to describe what a typical week is like for me, but I’m not sure anything can be described as “typical” anymore. And while part of me misses the structure I had pre-pandemic, I remember that my favorite memories at Dartmouth were the unplanned ones. The spontaneous late-night drives through the Upper Valley with no destination in mind — moments like those made my Dartmouth experience my own. And those are the moments that don’t fit into any routine.