Opinion: Community is the key to quarantine


Musical theater junior Ryan Wiles plays video games in his apartment with his roommate Andres Paniagua. Wiles said that safe socializing and finding a sense of community through spending time with friends has helped him cope with the emotional strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of Ryan Wiles.

Ryan Wiles

People need people, that’s just how it goes.

For most of the summer, I, like most other students, was isolated in my childhood home. At first, I saw it as an opportunity to challenge myself to do something I wouldn’t regularly be able to fit into my routine, but that got old pretty quickly.

There was only so much that I could do without feeling as though my routine was becoming dull. As weeks went on with more restrictions being added, the most I could do with my day was read random articles and falling into long sessions on social media.

Now, I’m in my second week of classes, juggling studies with a part-time job in order to pay for a house I never thought I’d be living in. While it’s been exhausting so far, as my first few weeks during the pandemic were, I cannot say that I feel the same type of loneliness as I did only a few weeks ago.

Living with two other people, we make time often to hang out after our daily Zoom meetings, just as we would’ve done pre-pandemic. Whether it be painting nails or playing 2K, I’m always looking forward to the next time we can all chill and forget about all the stress for just a second. Sure, I will admit that the current state of the pandemic isn’t ideal, and it’s hard to say when things will get better, but at the very least, I’m glad to be holed up with people who are going through it just like me.

What I’m getting at is that people can’t get through this pandemic alone. People need people, a community, in order to thrive, even when thriving seems to be nothing more than a fantasy. It doesn’t always have to be live interactions either. I’ll still FaceTime my out-of-state friends randomly just to talk and vibe for a minute, but it is those in-person interactions that are so much sweeter. So call a friend up, maybe even visit them, that is if health and safety allow for it. Find your people because a community isn’t just a circle of friends––it’s security.