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QUARANTINE TIMES: THINGS CHANGE IN A DAY

Updated: Jul 19

Coronavirus has absolutely ravaged our world this year, putting a stop to businesses, travel, and education plans everywhere. At Allegheny College, we have already been forced to leave our friends and the place we all love, and make the sudden transition to returning home and adjusting to remote learning. Obviously, we are not alone.


Across the U.S. and the world, many other communities are doing the exact same thing we are doing. The U.S. is currently suffering the most, but we are not the only place that has been impacted, and certainly not the worst. China was where it all began, and it was not easy to get it to settle down.


Europe is also currently suffering, with Spain and the UK being some of the countries with the highest reported infections. However, out of all of the European countries, Italy has probably had the toughest time of them all, with a soaring death toll, and indefinite lockdowns putting an end to many people’s plans there, including the ones that my cousin Lindsey had.

She had graduated from Pitt the year prior and had gone to Italy, with her boyfriend David, to complete her Master’s of Science degree in Psychology and take two sections of Italian language. After these were completed, she was planning on taking the MCAT, which is the entrance exam for medical school. Lindsey wants to become a physician for women in the long run, so, she has been studying for medical school an awful lot during her time at Pitt.


A large number of David’s family members live in Italy (minus his parents), and he was completing a Fulbright program at ISMET at the same time as Lindsey’s program, so it seemed like it would be a fun time for the two of them.

When they first arrived there on New Year’s Eve 2019, neither of them even knew about the virus as it had not reached Italy then. When they did hear about it spreading in China, it seemed a distant threat at the time, and they, like many of us, were hopeful that it would not spread beyond China's borders. Eventually, however, it started to become a lot more serious. They first began to find out about it when they were visiting some family in Milan, which is one of the largest areas in Italy that has been affected by the coronavirus.


It really started to get serious for them around the same time it did for us, here in the U.S., around early March 2020, as some study abroad university students were starting to come home, and the Fulbright program had begin mentioning the virus in their preliminary talks about how things could change because of it. Thankfully, Lindsey and David were able to get out before Italy went under lockdown, and their classes have moved online, but it has been a lot harder for them to be able to work, and David’s job at a research facility in a hospital is on hold, as he is considered a “non-essential” employee.


Despite their time in Italy being cut short, Lindsey and David are still managing to edge slowly towards the future. Lindsey has still been able to practice Italian, both through her online courses, and by practicing with David’s family. In addition, she is still planning on doing her MCAT and going to medical school.


This last decision is even more significant now. Once we emerge from this pandemic and manage to resume our (somewhat) normal lives, hopefully people like Lindsey will be able to contribute to the medical industry and make the improvements so we don’t find ourselves in a situation like this again.


In the meantime, we can take comfort in the fact that my cousin is home safe, and we can face this lockdown together. And, hopefully, once it’s over, we will make things even better than they were before.

~~Lindsey Gorman. Interviewed by Cullen Cleary (Class of '23)

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