by Ebehimalen Aboiralor
While CSUF finishes the semester online, Titan Comms interns are writing first-person blog posts to document this unique experience.
On Saturday, February 29th, I was getting my nails done. I wanted my usual dip powder manicure but could not decide whether to get nude to blue ombre or just a clean grey look. As my nail tech, dipped my fingers into the powder I glanced up at the mini flat-screen TV perched on the wall over his head and saw the word “Coronavirus” flash across the screen. President Trump stood behind a podium in the White House press briefing room flanked by four other men. ABC was breaking the news that the first American citizen had died from the Coronavirus.
Looking around the shop it seemed as though no one had heard the announcement, nail techs were still filing nails and customers were on their phones scrolling through posts on social media. When I looked down at my nails to see the finished product, my nails were grey. None of us had any idea how much this announcement would change our lives in the coming weeks.
March 2nd, my school routine continued as normal: classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, internship on Tuesdays and Thursdays, then work Thursday and Friday. With my packed schedule, I did not have the time to think of the virus as anything more than a variation of the flu that could be easily avoided by washing your hands for 20 seconds and not touching your face. The CSUF administration, along with the university president, sent out emails that encouraged students to do the same. Little did I know, singing the chorus to “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo as I attempted to rub away any trace of everything and anything I touched prior was not enough to prevent what was coming next.
March 9th, I walked into my Political Philosophy class thinking I was late because the room was already buzzing with conversation. As I sat down, I listened in to what was being said and heard a student mention that there had been a potential case of the virus in housing and that the resident has put themselves into quarantine. I live in housing. What did that mean for me? Have I been contaminated? Opening up my laptop, I scrolled through my email to find a message from the housing department that stated a resident believed to have been in contact with someone who thought that they had the Coronavirus during a business trip. After the professor got everyone to calm down and focus on the lecture it was already halfway through the class. It was in this same class, on Wednesday, March 11th, I learned the that university is choosing to transition to virtual classes.
After that day it was like a domino effect. The Gastronome, the cafeteria on campus, started taking precautionary measures, the BSU event ‘Why I Love Black Women’ in Irvine got canceled, campus might close which means I lose my job and my graduation is… pending. It seemed as though the life that I had built for myself on campus was coming to an abrupt end.
Friday, March 13th, I was at work at a center on campus when three students walked in asking to use our services. As a protocol for the center, I asked for their IDs to swipe them into our system. Shortly after taking all of their cards I heard one of the students with a face mask whisper to a friend that he thought he had the virus. Without glancing up, I pumped three healthy blobs of hand sanitizer into my palms and handed the students back their cards. The one with the mask quickly took his card and left to where I assume was the health center.
Saturday, March 14th, I was strolling the aisles of Target with my boyfriend to stock up on things I would need to self-quarantine. Monday of that week, all my roommates chose to go home to be with their families since all classes are now virtual. Later that day the housing department sent out an email requiring all residents that are able, to move out by the weekend. On Tuesday, I lost my job. Wednesday, I started packing and Thursday, March 19th, I went back to my home in Gardena.
Within two weeks my life as a college student changed from living on campus with an on-campus job and internship to living out the rest of my college days behind the screen of my laptop.