Almost two years into the pandemic, I finally received the dreaded 617 call—I had tested positive for COVID-19. In a panic, I rushed to pack as quickly as possible, throwing whatever I could into my suitcase and blue Ikea bag. For me, this was my first time heading off to Pine Manor, and I had no idea what to pack or what to expect. Here are my tips and tricks for surviving Pine Manor and making your quarantine the best it can possibly be.
So, what actually happens when you test positive?
After you test positive for COVID-19, everything happens quickly. Take a deep breath—it is going to be okay. Notify your family and roommates that you have tested positive and start packing. University Health Services and ResLife will both be in contact with you to coordinate transportation to Pine Manor. If you live nearby and plan to quarantine at home instead, make sure to notify ResLife that you will not need transportation to Pine Manor. If you live off campus, you have the option of quarantining in your off campus house or apartment instead. The time between testing positive and arriving at Pine Manor is the most stressful part of the whole experience, so try to keep a level head to ensure you don’t forget to bring anything essential.
Pine Manor Packing List
Most students have around an hour to pack before the Eagle Escort picks them up to bring them to Pine Manor. Once you are there, most rooms contain at least one bed, dresser, desk, closet, fridge, and microwave. They also provide a pillow, a towel, an extra blanket, and sheets for you. Although the rooms are actually fairly nice, I still recommend bringing a few extra things to make the experience a bit more comfortable. I brought two extra blankets, my pillow, and a towel to make my room feel more homey. Although it was lacking in comparison to my cozy eight-man suite, those personal items helped me feel much more comfortable.
For those of us who haven’t had to use a communal bathroom since freshman year, it can be jarring to revert back to one, even if it’s temporary. I cannot stress it enough—bring shower shoes. The bathrooms get cleaned twice a day, but for extra precaution, you should grab whatever pair of flip flops, slides, or other shower-friendly sandals you might have and pack them in your bag, along with your essential toiletries.
Clothing-wise, there is no need to pack anything besides loungewear. I would recommend bringing a few sweatshirts and t-shirts, in case there are varying temperatures in your room, as well as various pairs of sweatpants and pajama pants. I brought my slippers to wear in and out of the bathroom and a few pairs of socks. Make sure to bring a jacket as well for outdoor time if you want to take a few walks to escape the confines of your room.
Being in Pine Manor means returning to Zoom classes, so make sure you pack all of the notebooks, textbooks, and folders that you might need to attend your classes and do your schoolwork remotely. It is important to communicate with your professors how long you will be in quarantine, when you will get out, and how you are feeling. Open and honest communication between you and your professors will ensure that you stay caught up on work while you recover.
My last, and potentially most important, item to pack for Pine Manor is snacks. I grabbed Clif bars, Goldfish crackers, and some gummy candies for variety. Having some extra snacks to munch on during the day while in Zoom class or at night while binge watching a show is always a bonus, so bring some from home if you can.
How to stay level-headed
Being alone in isolation can be a mentally taxing experience. My biggest piece of advice is to stick to some sort of routine to maintain a sense of normalcy. A big part of this is maintaining a consistent sleep schedule. The temptation to stay up at night and sleep in or nap during the day is strong, but going to sleep at a regular time will help ensure that you stay on track and easily transition back to life on campus when you return.
I used my spare time in quarantine to call my family and home friends, which can be difficult with all of the stress and busyness of school and extracurricular activities. Back at school, my friends made an extra effort to reach out and make sure I was feeling okay. A few of my friends called to check in and fill me in on what I was missing on campus. Staying connected through text, call, or even social media can be a great way to pass the time and keep you from getting too lonely in isolation.
One of the biggest mistakes I made during my stay at Pine Manor involved food. Everyday, you must order your food for the next day on the GET Mobile app before 3 p.m. On GET Mobile under “Isolation Meals” you can choose between two dinner options and two lunch options. The isolation meals also provide breakfast for the next morning, some other snacks, and water bottles. The first day I was in Pine Manor, I forgot to do this and ended up not having food. If you make the same mistake I did, or if you don’t like what is served for dinner, you can always order food via delivery service or Instacart, as long as it arrives before 8 p.m. I recommend ordering more than one meal and versatile groceries, such as peanut butter and cheese sticks, to store in your fridge in case the lunch or dinner options don’t appeal to you. You will receive instructions to give the delivery drivers so they know exactly where to deliver your food.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to reach out to ResLife. They give you a number that you can call or text at any point if you need anything. I asked them for coffee every morning, and someone on staff brought it to my room. If you need snacks, more water bottles, or deliveries picked up, someone will do it for you.
ResLife will also offer to pair you with a conversation buddy, which I could not recommend more. Speaking with my conversation buddy was always one of the highlights of my day, as we got to know each other and talked about various topics, ranging from TV shows and movies to how we have the same initials.
No one wants to test positive for COVID-19 and be sent to Pine Manor, but I hope my tips and tricks can help make the transition and experience a little more pleasant. Keeping an open mind, staying flexible, and trying to stay positive about testing positive will make the experience much better and allow you to survive Pine Manor in stride.
Photos by MC Claverie / Heights Editor
Featured Graphic by Liz Schwab / Heights Editor