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Prithvi: Managing self-isolation during COVID-19

Prithvi says staying in his student accommodation made his mandatory self-isolation bearable. He says they looked out for his wellbeing, made deliveries, and helped keep him entertained while he was stuck inside for 14 days. We spoke to Prithvi about managing self-isolation and study during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Where were you when the COVID-19 crisis began?

After I finished the first semester of my Masters of Engineering (Electronic), I spent most of the summer break in Adelaide to work and catch up with friends. I went back to India to visit my parents in February when the pandemic wasn’t as severe. I had no idea it was all going to change in just a few weeks. I was uncertain when I was in India. Should I stay with my parents and skip the semester, or come back? My parents supported me and said everything would be fine if I returned, so I came back to Adelaide. While I was travelling, the Prime Minister implemented the mandatory quarantine, so when I landed, I had to self-isolate for 14 days.

Describe your 14 days of self-isolation.

I stayed in my student accommodation where I have my own room and bathroom. The staff kept checking on me to see if I was finding it difficult and helping me get things I needed. They gave me access to Netflix and dropped off food and chocolates. Getting groceries was fine because of all the options available. My friends helped do some shopping for me, and I used the Coles and Woolworths delivery services.

I kept myself entertained by talking to friends all over the world. Because we’re all in different time zones, there was always someone awake. I binged on TV series and watched my lectures online. I also started an online course in digital marketing, which I think will help me in my professional life.

It was hard being stuck in a room and looking at the walls all the time, but I kept telling myself it was just for 14 days, not forever. I knew I had to obey the isolation rules, otherwise it could be bad for everyone else. If I’d had the virus, I didn’t want to spread it and make a problem for everyone.

What sort of support has your university offered?

The University of Adelaide released some student support packages. They gave me a Coles gift card and IT support, which has helped with the extra data I need for online study. They’ve communicated all these opportunities very well with emails and surveys to see how we’re going. They ask us to give feedback about online learning and check to see if we’re feeling ok about things. I feel supported. They’re checking in on us while we learn remotely.

How has COVID-19 impacted your studies?

Shifting to online study has been hard. I’m the kind of person who prefers to attend a lecture in person. But no one can do anything about it. Studying online has taught me self-discipline. As time has passed, I can see how it’s making us learn more, explore more and find solutions on our own. The faculty has helped us in every way possible. Whenever I’ve asked for help, they come back to me as quickly as they could. I do feel hopeful we’ll go back on-campus to study next semester. I’ll be very happy if that happens.

How do you feel about being in Adelaide during COVID-19?

I feel really happy to be in South Australia right now. It’s a lot safer than what everyone has had to face around the world. I feel everything’s going to be fine soon. The people of South Australia have made a unanimous effort to follow the advisories given by the government. The way Adelaide has come out of it is very promising.

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