Freedom feeling: We asked Cambridge students about how they celebrated the end of self-isolation

If you didn’t go to Castle Mound, Grantchester or Cindies straight after leaving isolation, honestly wyd?

Remember last year, when the prospect of spending all day inside was considered a treat? Well, fast-forward a year, and the thought of being stuck inside has lost all of its novelty. Even the most exercise-averse of us are jumping at the chance to go for our daily walk.  All of this made the prospect of self-isolating for two weeks fear-inducing. Still, possibly the only positive of self-isolation is the feeling of escaping it at midnight (a Cinderella moment – no?).

Whether you had to experience isolation last term, are facing the possibility of it this term, or have yet to experience it, here are some heartwarming (and sometimes daring!) ways that Cambridge students have celebrated the end of their time in isolation. And hey, you never know, they may even give you some inspiration for the end of Boris’ most recent lockdown, because if there is one thing Cambridge students love to do, it’s planning for the return of precedented times.

Practice makes perfect? 

That post-iso feeling (Credits: Poppy Robinson)

A two-week isolation period would take out the best of us, but one second-year Jesus student was unfortunate enough to spend a whole six weeks under lockdown in Michaelmas. It’s a no from me.

However, whilst the prospect of three-quarters of the term spent indoors is truly horrific, the one plus-side is that every time an isolation period ended, they got a great opportunity to try out a new exit strategy. The student told the Tab that whilst the first of their array of exit strategies entailed a couple of drinks and a “jump into the Cam”, the second included a “binge watch of NBC’s ‘Friends'”. Apparently, watching New Yorkers splash around in a fountain is a bit more appealing than taking a dip in the Cam in winter and honestly, who can blame them.

Afterwards, when the student went on to actually contract coronavirus, and had to return to self-isolation once again, they celebrated their eventual return to freedom with a trip to the tattoo shop. In true Cambridge style, this tattoo was then made the subject of their first-year dissertation. Apparently, the tattoo artist was even lucky enough to receive a summary of the essay. Who would have thought that a post-iso tattoo would be the only in-person teaching we’d receive this academic year!

The joys of being able to get your step count above 200 steps again

There are now Christmas lights in Cam!?! (Credits: Sophie Beckingham)

Being locked in a 15m squared space can feel… trapping, to say the least. These two Catz students made the most of their freedom with a run to Grantchester. However, these two singletons quickly discovered that 7 am is the prime time for couples running, leaving them to feel “more alone than ever.” Not particularly the way you want to feel after coming out of isolation.

Who would have guessed this time last year that a run to Grantchester would replace the romantic encounters of the Sunday Life dance floor?

Trips to Cindies and short-lived freedom

Not all those who attended sit-down Cindies actually developed Covid – this lot just developed a sense of *style* (Credits: Jessica Graham)

One household was exceptionally unlucky, deciding to attend their first sit-down Cindies with their household to celebrate getting out of isolation. Unfortunately, days later they developed coronavirus symptoms, tested positive and had to isolate again. Though they were unable to confirm the source of infection, the student said they liked to think “it was a leaving gift from Cindies.”

Making a grand entrance

Not to be dramatic or anything (Credits: Author’s own screenshot via Camfess)

The first step out into the great outdoors is always an occasion, but a few second-year Emma students decided to do it with fashionable flair. At 12am, their non-isolating friends blasted “‘The Final Countdown’ on a big speaker” from outside the window, whilst the isolators “stepped out of the door wearing flipflops and blazers” (were they wearing anything else? Were they not cold? There are way too many unanswered questions here).

This story is definitely the inspiration we need for when we eventually exit lockdown three: who cares if May Balls have been cancelled? You’ll be catching me in a floor-length gown at my front door when Boris releases us regardless.

A quick dip to wake up?

After a good few days trapped inside, there’s nothing better than a bit of fresh air. Some students took it a little bit further, deciding to take a dip in a college pond.

Preferring to remain anonymous, one student detailed that whilst it was a great way to celebrate, a friends of theirs later caught a six-week fungal infection. Maybe best to stick to running water in the future.

A quick dip to wake up part 2?

FrESh AiR?? (Credits: Jed Asemota)

Meanwhile, Katie, a Churchill student, tried out a different kind of lockdown dip, although this time from the safety of a boat, with an early morning rowing outing. Stepping out into winter darkness, she described post-iso confusion as a “strange mix of adrenaline” and the feeling that the outside world still wasn’t quite “legal”.

After a day filled with brunches, coffees and charity shopping, she opted to attend a sit-down Cindies. Is there a better way to celebrate freedom than by “buying way to many VKs” and spending it with the same people that you’ve just been locked up with for two weeks? We think probably not.

Over the hills and far-away

Who doesn’t love a bit of sight-seeing after 12am? A Sewlyn student, Tilly, cycled with her household to Castle Mound following her 15 days in isolation. Despite the “freezing cold”, the “breath of actual fresh air” was apparently highly recommended.

And of course, no end of isolation, as Tilly describes, “would be complete without visiting the laundry room with a mound of washing”. To be honest, if we’ve learned anything from this investigation, it’s that Cambridge students love doing their laundry.

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Turns out two weeks inside produces a lot of washing (Credits: Poppy Robinson)

It’s not often that you’re in a fairy-tale, but exiting isolation at midnight is most likely the closest you’re going to get to your Cinderella dreams. Although happy to report that no pumpkins were harmed during the course of this investigation.

Isolation clearly isn’t the easiest experience, but there’s always an end. Whether you enter it once, twice, or even three times this term, you know you’ll soon be reunited with the places and people that you love (socially distanced of course).

So here’s to celebrating the end of isolation and making the best of the moment!

Featured image credit: Poppy Robinson, author’s own screenshot via Camfess and Creative Commons Licence 

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