Six essentials all Cambridge students need for two weeks of self-isolation

When life goes from having a 10pm curfew to having a two week quarantine, make sure you get through it with this survival kit!


The dreaded asymptomatic test has come back positive. It’s two weeks alone, in your room, with nothing but your zoom supervisions and occasionally seeing your flatmates heading to the bathroom to remind you that other people exist. It is everyone’s worst nightmare at the moment. But don’t worry! I have you covered with six essential things that you might not have thought about stocking up on to ease the pain.  So, when that text from UniofCam comes through, you are all set!

1. A Kettle

The hundredth cup of the day! (Image Credit: Harriet Wadey)

If you are anything like me, tea is a brilliant way to procrastinate for a few minutes every hour and feed your caffeine addiction. In isolation, lounging about the kitchen is going to be a thing of the past. So why not invest in a kettle for your room so you can still have something to drink when you are stalling in a supervision. Don’t settle for boring plain mugs; this is isolation – get a funky one!

2. Stash

You can never have too much stash! (Image Credit: Harriet Wadey)

Make sure you stock up on some college or university stash before you are forced into your bedroom. It will make you feel like you are still part of your college even when you can only see it from the view out of your window. It will be great for taking brooding isolation selfies while also flexing that you go to Cambridge. And when your radiator breaks, it’s the best way to keep warm in style!

3. Plants

I would love to say these are all the plants I own… (Image Credit: Harriet Wadey)

All TikTok haters are about to recoil in disgust, but plants are actually brilliant for isolation. They purify the air that is likely to get a little stuffy with you moping around in the same room for two weeks. They are also great as a sense of purpose. When you feel like no one is around or remembers you exist, your plants need you! There are some great ones to be found that your local Mainsbury’s. I recommend having a sing-along too to make those hours go by, it’s supposed to help them grow 🙂

4. Free prints

Yes, this is pinboard flex. (Image Credit: Harriet Wadey)

As basic as this suggestion is, quarantine is the perfect time to jazz up your pinboard. I am sure some of you still only have the fire safety poster on your walls for decoration – now is the time to change that! Order 50 free photos a month from FreePrints directly from your phone – putting them up will easily waste an afternoon. Trust me, by week five you will appreciate coming back to a lovely colourful board.

5. Screen for your door

Maybe don’t use a clothes bag! (Image Credits: Harriet Wadey)

As horrible as this talking through walls business will be, it might be made easier with a Covid-19 screen over your door. It means you can talk to your flatmates at a distance, and actually see their faces, while still remaining isolated.

6. Christmas decorations

It’s beginning to look a lot like Bridgemas! (Image Credit: Harriet Wadey)

Bridgemas will be here before you know it! And there is a chance that you could be isolating when it happens (I know, it doesn’t bear thinking about). Make sure you have some Christmas decorations in advance to keep you feeling Christmassy. You could always buy an advent calendar and turn it into an isolation calendar, rewarding yourself with chocolate for a good day spent in isolation.

So, there you have it. Self-isolation is a difficult time for everyone, and I hope you feel supported throughout.  In all seriousness, make sure to stay in contact with your friends and course-mates during isolation, and if you’re struggling contact your tutor. While these things might not be entirely essential, they will keep you sane and connected to the university that you love. Good luck!

Feature image credit: Harriet Wadey