When Isaac Ball was packing up to move to his isolation room he expected to spend the coming days separated from others.But the IU freshman has now shared his quarantine experience with more than 180,000 people through a TikTok video that has since gone viral.
Ball tested positive for COVID-19 last Friday. He knew several people who had already moved to be quarantined, including his roommate, but said that the situation still surprised him.
“It was pretty out of the blue,” Ball said. “In the back of my mind, I always knew there was a possibility of getting the virus because I’m at the university, but I never really thought about it seriously.”
Ball decided to stay in Ashton Center, the quarantine residence hall IU provides on campus, as opposed to traveling back to his hometown in New Jersey. He said he also could not think of a way he could safely travel without the risk of infecting others.
“For me personally, it just didn’t really make sense to spend two or three days traveling when I wouldn’t need to spend more than five days here,” Ball said.
Ball had been experiencing minor symptoms such as a headache and fever, but was never concerned for his well-being. He said he was pleased with the availability of those in charge of student health and that he understands the university is trying its best.
“I really made the video as a joke,” Ball said. “It’s really not that bad. Everyone is really helpful. I’m pretty happy with my decision to stay.”
In the video, Ball shares different aspects from his days in quarantine such as his medical scrubs and daily water supply.
Ball said he decided to make the video after a friend shared several clips from TikTok about students’ experiences at New York University’s quarantine facilities.
Ball said that while he had been on TikTok for over a year, he rarely posted videos. He shared his most recent clip with the intention of sharing it among close friends.
“It definitely gets it out there more than other platforms,” Ball said. “I think I had like 10 followers when I posted it, and now I have 400. TikTok was definitely the quickest way to get people to see it whether that was the intention or not.”
Freshmen Emily Kennedy and Hunter Hettinger saw the video once it started to pick up more views. The two said they were surprised by some of the things they saw in the video, like the lack of carpeting in the room.
“It kind of felt like a prison,” Hettinger said.
Kennedy also noted how the video started to make her feel slightly uneasy, even though she understands that as a student living in a residence hall she is at less risk of contracting COVID-19 than those living off campus.
“I thought it was funny, but it was scary to think that’ll probably be us at some point,” she said.
Some IU students have commented on the video with surprise after not knowing many people were quarantined oncampus. Ball said he was responding to people’s comments when he had first posted the video, but after it gathered tens of thousands of views, he could no longer keep up.
One user commented that she is an IU senior and wanted to know where the quarantine residence hall was and why students were given scrubs. Other students jokingly asked if Ball was in prison.
Ball has since returned to his regular room oncampus after his symptoms improved and he was cleared by an IU health professional. He said that while making the first video was fun, he decided not to make more while at Ashton.
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