When Middlebury students were sent home last March tasked with finishing the semester remotely, students in Erin Davis’s podcast course received a new assignment: to create audio portraits of their own self-isolation.
Middlebury Magazine and The Middlebury Campus have teamed up to present these stories from the early days of a global pandemic. The Campus has published a podcast episode featuring all seven pieces at one time. We’ll be publishing serially, an episode at a time, with a new piece appearing every few days.
We begin with Aidan Acosta, reporting from his home in Rockport, Maine.
It’s April 3. It is April 8. It is April 16. It’s April 22. It is May 7. It is drizzling a little bit, but I’ve been in the house all day and I wanted to get away, have a little bit of alone time. So I decided to come down to Beauchamp Point.
I guess I first learned that Middlebury was going to be closing on Tuesday, I guess, maybe March 11 or something like that. The energy absolutely changed after that point. People, I think, really began to understand and believe that things were not going to be the same anymore.
Since the day we left school, I never really expected to go back, at least in the spring. I’ve been trying to occupy myself with other things other than thinking about what I’m missing out on at school, because I think that sort of the FOMO of what could have been were it not for COVID is sort of destructive to our mental health these days. So I’ve been trying to just think about all the things that I can be doing.
Hiking up and skiing down my local ski mountain, which is about a 10-minute drive from my house. It’s pretty small. It’s only 800 vertical feet. And also I’ve been going on bike rides. And these are kind of the activities that I always do in my life to stay sane. Whether I’m at school or working in the summertime or home, biking and skiing have always sort of been the activities that I sort of fall back on.
My aunt, who lives in Connecticut, did contract the coronavirus. My aunt is pretty much recovered from the coronavirus, which is good. And my grandmother didn’t get it. My friends are all healthy around here, so everything’s going pretty well.
Hi, this is Aiden Acosta. It is May 7 and this is my final audio diary. Reflecting now, it’s pretty crazy that so much time has gone by since I left school. It’s been almost two months now that I’ve been home, and it’s become somewhat tranquil, I would say. I feel like I’ve become used to being here. And especially in the last week or so, I think I have felt more at home in my hometown that I have probably since I went to college. So all things considered, I think that’s a pretty good thing.
My mom split up with her boyfriend when I was probably a freshman or sophomore in college. And since then, home hasn’t felt quite the same. But this time I’ve been back for about eight weeks, hanging out with my mom and my brother more than I have since I got to college, because I’ve worked out-of-state every summer since my sophomore year. And so I think I’m starting to see the place in a new way, which is pretty nice.
About Aidan Acosta
Class: Senior Feb
Home: Rockport, Maine
Major: Economics, with an environmental studies minor.
What he learned while sheltering in place: “While in isolation I learned to relax a bit. I’m a pretty type-a, the-faster-paced-the-better type of person and I didn’t really have the option to live that way for the first few weeks (at least) of quarantine. Going from Midd, which can feel like sensory overload, to living in my house, which is the opposite, allowed me time to actually read full books and spend time with myself. I don’t think that this is a permanent lifestyle change, but it was nice to learn that I could handle living differently.”