Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

500 Days of Quarantine

Bryn Seltzer
August 6, 2020

Since coming home from Exeter in March, I have struggled to respond to the question of “What have you been up to?” To be honest, during all of quarantine I have had no idea what I’ve been up to. Sometimes I respond that I’ve been eating a lot of bagels (always true), or that I’ve been sitting in front of the window watching dogs go by (sadly, true), or I just forget to respond after trying to remember what exactly it is that I’ve been doing. In an attempt to finally communicate what exactly I’ve “been up to,” I present to you “500 Days of Quarantine”:

  • Rewatched all nine seasons of “The Office” three times in the span of two months. For a series with 201 episodes, I’ve watched about 10 episodes a day. Please don’t check my math. There’s a reason why I’m a senior English major who has yet to fill their QR requirement. 

  • Started bingeing “The Windsors,” a show so absolutely atrocious that it’s good. Just take my word for it. William and Kate apparently watch it, so I mean, if you don’t trust me, trust them. Also made a plan to watch all of “Downton Abbey,” and subsequently failed. Stopped after that death, but before that other death. If you know, you know. 

  • Re-read “Pride and Prejudice” in an attempt to fill the England-shaped hole in my heart.

  • Reverted to my camp counselor roots by going through a phase of being really into making friendship bracelets. Started bracelets for all my friends and finished exactly zero of them. 

  • Began phone banking for Ed Markey for U.S. Senate, in addition to developing my new pastime of furiously re-posting all of Markey’s Instagram posts onto my Instagram story. I’m a fan of his work to both end qualified immunity and pass the Green New Deal alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (And most importantly, I applied to vote by mail!)

  • Got my first-ever sunburn, which shocked me to my core. I’d always thought my Armenian-ness would prevent me from ever getting burned. At 21 years of age, the sun proved me wrong. I’m no longer able to make fun of my part-Irish boyfriend for burning so easily.

  • Watched “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” so many times that I can basically recite most scenes by heart. The soundtrack has surpassed The Supremes as my most listened to album on Spotify. I don’t know what this says about me. Entered several contests to win free trips to Iceland, and was sadly unsuccessful.

  • Began a remote internship at a non-profit start-up called The Ventilator Project. While my own immediate reaction to the coronavirus was to try to start sewing masks and attempt to learn to yodel, the founders of TVP reacted by engineering a low-cost device that could help solve the global ventilator shortage. It’s been very exciting and fulfilling to help make a difference during this pandemic, and I’m so lucky to have had this opportunity to help people.

Throughout this pandemic, I have been incredibly privileged to have not been deeply affected by a job loss, a hospitalization, major financial stress, or any of the hundreds of difficulties many people have been faced with. While completing the first half of my senior year remotely was never my plan, if it helps to keep the Kenyon community and Knox County safe, then I plan to make the best of it. Yes, I did break into my previously mentioned stash of British chocolate and tea cakes in order to cope with the news that my friends and I would not be returning to campus in the fall (I am running dangerously low on my stash). But right now, it’s my responsibility to do my own part to stop the spread of COVID-19. And if that means I’ll need to rewatch “The Office” for a fourth time since March, then that’s where you will find me (through Zoom, of course).