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STELLA | The Four Stages of Quarantine Blues

Today marks the 44th day that shelter in place has been instituted in California, and there is still no real end in sight. If you’re in one of the majority of states that still have lockdown orders, or if you’re virtuously still trying to limit your outdoor adventures in the states that are reopening early, the days are feeling long and seldom fulfilling. The activities we used to be excited about having the time to try now seem like undesirable responsibilities that we didn’t sign up for. Growing a mustache was exhilarating at first, but now grooming and styling with mustache wax has become a daily chore (need to keep it until quarantine is up though, the public needs to see what I’ve accomplished). Shearing the dog was all fun and games, but now mom makes us put sunscreen on the parts we messed up.

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STELLA | The Cornellian’s Guide to Abroad

“In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” The oraculous Douglas Adams once wrote a book about a book about surviving the Universe and its contents. Diseases that cause global house arrest wouldn’t exist if the Universe didn’t, but then again, neither would Pokémon Emerald or Joe Exotic. One thing that has made our Universe slightly more tolerable (before the age of quarantine) is the ability to travel while “studying” on our little, blue, insignificant planet. It makes us feel more significant (as we can tell by the abundance of social media outbursts from local acquaintances in foreign countries).

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STELLA | The Quest For Human Interaction in the Age of Coronavirus

It’s been a week and a half since I returned to The States from my shortened semester abroad. I’ve been in quarantine since stepping back inside my childhood home, not just because I was in Europe, but because the Bay Area instituted shelter in place two days after my return. The state of California followed suit a few days later, and other states such as Illinois and Pennsylvania have the same restrictions. There are now 20 countries under a Center for Disease Control level 3 warning, not including the fact that the entirety of Europe is a level 3. Additionally, the CDC has put all travel anywhere at a level 2 warning.

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STELLA | Nobody’s Likin’ This American Boy

Despite our best efforts to blend in with the locals, Americans often stand out even before we even display our unattractive accents. Countries around the globe hold stereotypes about tourists from the States: We’re loud, obnoxious, oblivious of our surroundings and worst of all, ignorant, especially towards other cultures. If you’ve traveled outside the U.S. and interacted with locals, you’ve probably felt some judgement or critical stares. To be fair, a lot of the time Americans stay true to a lot of these stereotypes. One lovely tradition at Cornell, as with countless other colleges, is a Spring Break beach getaway.

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STELLA | The Similarities Between Freshman Year and Going Abroad

I’m getting too old for small talk. Introductions, “where are you froms” and “what are you studyings” seem to blur together quicker than an AEM major can shift a conversation to the recent fluctuation of their Netflix stock. After a lot of elbow grease and a little luck, you establish your college friends at Cornell to the point where you forget what your days were like before you met them. Yet, right when they become such an inherent luxury in your life, you decide to leave them. You feel as though cultural assimilation and self-growth are great alternatives to comfortable friendships and shooting the shit over a pitcher of CTB sangria.

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STELLA | We Did Not Find Love in a Hopeless Place, but We Remain Romantics

All of us romance lovers have been there: a seemingly unimportant moment — maybe they’ve got food on their chin, maybe they roll their eyes at us — when we look over at our significant other and unpromptedly think, “God, I fucking love you.” Yesterday we were on top of the world, wiping mustard from their face. Today we’re cradling ourselves in bed while listening to James Blunt’s “Goodbye My Lover.” It’s at points like these when we envy our casual friends who prefer one night stands and labelless partnerships. Many romance lovers find ourselves falling head over heels time and time again. Once for the person in the grade above us in high school, once for the friend we’d always insisted was just a friend and once for the pair of unfamiliar eyes across the beer pong table. We love the idea of romance and gleefully look past early red flags (she still talks about her ex, he only talks about himself) to tell our friends we’ve found someone.

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STELLA | Halloweens Pass, I’m Still Peter Parker

Bzzt. The door swings open to the grinning face of your elderly neighbor and you study the wrinkles around her eyes. “Trick or Treat,” you repeat, and she gladly picks up a dish of candy. You’re dressed as a superhero, or ninja turtle, or princess or fairy tale creature, and she starts gabbing about the constellations in the sky and her astrological sign. You have to sit and listen, but all you want is for her to place the Skittles in your pillow case or plastic pumpkin so that you and your parents can run off to the next house.