March 16, 2021

ONONYE | A Year Later, The Most Relatable Quarantine Moments

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I am writing this column on March 13, 2021, which marks the one year anniversary since President Martha Pollack’s infamous email. The content of that email sent us home for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester and was my first real introduction to the severity of the pandemic. After her email was sent out around 1:30 p.m. on March 13, 2020, I packed up my life in Ithaca and got on a flight to Southern California less than 17 hours later. Looking back, I had no idea what we were in for. I can shamefully admit that I was even a bit excited for an extended spring break. Now, one year later, I’m back in Ithaca taking all online courses and wearing a face mask feels like second nature. While the last year has been full of incredible horrors, I thought I’d highlight the “most quarantine” things that I did this year, hoping that some of them resonate with you. 

Baked for Baking’s Sake

I baked so much during quarantine that my parents started throwing out my cookies. I only know one recipe, so it was bound to happen. But, imagine just throwing out oatmeal chocolate chip cookies because no one wanted them anymore. I baked so much that you couldn’t walk into our house without smelling cookies. Although a little bit obsessive, baking became a great family bonding moment for me, especially as my brother and I started trading cookies for chores. He’d do the dishes I’d bake him cookies, he’d wash my car and I’d bake him cookies, he’d…. All that to say, I baked a lot during quarantine. 

Got on a Health Kick 

During quarantine, it felt like almost everyone got on a new health kick. Without access to a gym, my family got inventive with home workouts and we finally set up workout equipment in our home. I also became friends with the Nike Run App and challenged (yes, challenged!) my friends across the country for run times and mileage. 

Did an Instagram Challenge

In the first few days of quarantine, I was challenged to more Instagram challenges than I can count. I made a “Don’t Rush” before and after video with some of my girlfriends, I did a push up challenge, I edited the Bill Clinton picture with my favorite HER album, and I did Cornell In Color’s “CU in Quarantine Challenge”

Binged Too Many Movies 

My family and I became professional bingers during the pandemic. We watched a new movie or TV show almost every night for months. This was a great way for my parents to catch us up on everything we hadn’t watched, and for my brother and I to finally get them to watch our favorites. The family favorites were The Godfather Trilogy, Parasite, Tiger King, and The Queen’s Gambit. 

Completed a Virtual Internship 

Raise your hand if your 2020 summer plans were moved online! (raises hand). Raise your hand if your 2021 summer plans will probably be moved online! (tentatively raises hand). Although I didn’t get to spend last summer in New York like I had originally planned, my supervisors at She’s the First were phenomenal and it actually turned out to be one of the best internship experiences I’ve ever had. 

Hosted a Zoom Surprise Party 

Maybe I’m doing them wrong, but I’ve never been to a Zoom birthday party that wasn’t awkward. And at this point, I have been to (and hosted) way too many to count. They are usually filled with a lot of people who don’t know each other, no one ever knows when to mute or unmute themselves, and the “Happy Birthday” song never comes out quite right. 

Made a TikTok 

I actually made a few TikToks, but I’d deny it every time. I am not a huge TikTok person, but who could resist the “Out West” challenge? If you didn’t try (or watch) at least one TikTok challenge in quarantine, I don’t believe you. Some of my favorites were the “Patience Snack Challenge,” the “Renegade Challenge,” and of course the “Savage Challenge.” 

Took Classes at 5:00 A.M.

I am wary to take a class at 8:00 a.m. on campus, let alone one at 5:00 a.m.. However, once campus went virtual and I started taking courses from California, my usual class day was between 5:00 a.m. to  12:00 p.m. each day. If you live anywhere outside of the Eastern time zone, you probably had to set your alarm four thousand times to make sure that you were up for your classes. 

Attended a Drive-Thru Graduation 

And last but not least, probably the most-quarantine thing I did last year was attend my brother’s drive-thru high school graduation. Although he (and the rest of the class of 2020) deserved much more than he got, it was beautiful to see teachers, administrators and students honking their horns to celebrate their hard work.

Anuli Ononye is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at aononye@cornellsun.com. Womansplaining runs every other Wednesday this semester.