It’s every extrovert’s worst nightmare – two weeks locked up in isolation.
But for 20-year-old student Stephanie White, the prospect of a fortnight spent completely alone wasn’t enough to keep her away from the Gold Coast – with the help of yoga, Netflix, Bond University friends and FaceTime calls from grandma.
Not to mention the prospect of enjoying the sunny Gold Coast for her first meal out of lockdown since May.
Ms White, who is completing a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Psychological Science, returned to campus at Bond for its third trimester, while observing social distancing and public health restrictions.
Ms White headed home to Melbourne as COVID-19 gripped Australia in late March, continuing her study online, but was always keen to return to campus as soon as possible.
“I’m a very big extrovert, so I get my energy from talking to other people, and having that taken away . . . as soon as I figured I could come back, I wanted to, but obviously the quarantine was a big decision, because it was quite expensive.”
Despite concerns over boredom and loneliness during her holiday break, Ms White found plenty of ways to keep herself occupied, including her work as advocacy director for the Bond University Student Association.
“I would wake up, exercise every day, eat some lunch, and then I’d spend the whole afternoon replying to emails and FaceTiming friends – and Netflix was always there as well.
“I surprised myself, I thought I would definitely feel a lot more lonely but people knew, especially my friends and family, that I’m a social person. I think on average I had seven people call me a day, my grandma called me every night at 8pm to see what I had for dinner, which was really nice.
“The room was great – I had two beds, a balcony, a big bathroom, I couldn’t complain about the facilities.”
When the day of freedom finally arrived her priorities were her Bond friends – and coffee.
“I have some beautiful friends, and they all came and picked me up, which was lovely. We went out for breakfast because I hadn’t been out for a meal since May.
“I was dying for a good coffee, especially being from Melbourne.”
From there, it was straight to a meeting at Bond, a place Ms White is thrilled to have finally returned to.
“I love it, I can’t rave about it more, I think it’s incredible. It’s a great combination of providing a challenge, but also there’s so much support and help from the staff. I absolutely love it here, I can’t fault it.”