Spoiler Alert: bad.

The Timeline

Exposition: On a sunny day in May, I had gotten vaccinated in my local neighborhood. Lo and behold, it turned out not a WHO-approved vaccine. So, I notified Columbia and was then told that I would have to quarantine for 7 days before moving in.

I got an email from vaccineinfo@columbia.edu telling me that I need to schedule two COVID tests during quarantine and that I needed to be revaccinated to be fully compliant. The email stated, “Please note that it is not possible to be vaccinated during your quarantine period.”

It was all fine and dandy, or so I thought.

Rising Action: Flash forward to August 31st, I’m sitting on a 12-hour plane ride to New York while having absolutely NO CLUE where I was supposed to live after I landed. Even though Columbia told me I cannot move in, I received no information about where I was going to stay while I was in quarantine. I asked and they said I could do so in my usual room assignment. Confusing, but I went with it.

Luckily, the plane had cheap WiFi. Eager to find out more about my imminent fate, I purchased the WiFi and obsessively refreshed my email. Finally, midway through my flight, I received another update from vaccine info. It told me that I could only leave quarantine 7 days after the first dose of my vaccine. The email stated, “you will be placed in a temporary room assignment until 7 days after your first vaccine dose. You should schedule your first vaccine dose as soon as possible.” It also told me to get COVID tested the day before move-in.

If we just rewind a bit, we will recall that in their initial email, they told me to get vaccinated only after quarantine. Fortunately enough, I’ve developed the good habit of never trusting this institution, so I already scheduled a vaccine appointment during my quarantine period.

It was all fine and dandy, or so I thought.

Lead-up to the Shitshow: I get to Columbia and have no idea where to go. I hear through word of mouth that Shapiro is where I go but when I arrived, I was directed to Hartley. I dragged myself to Hartley and was told to go to my dorm. I get there, wait for half an hour, and was told that I should’ve gone to Schapiro.

But that is okay, because someone came to get me and told me that I get to quarantine in a swanky little hotel 30 minutes away from campus! Props to Columbia for shelling out big bucks. I feel like the spoiled child of wealthy yet neglectful parents.

Everything is fine and dandy at the swanky hotel. I have my own shower and Columbia delivers me massive bags of food. I look forward to finally moving in.

Yet here comes the twist…

The Shitshow Itself: Move-in day looms on the horizon. However, there was a catch: I could not schedule my second COVID test in time for the day before move-in, so I couldn’t satisfy all the requirements. I had received this information on August 31st while on the airplane, and by then, COVID testing spots were already rapidly filling up.

I emailed vaccineinfo; I desperately called Columbia Health; I called Housing. Ultimately, I finally made a breakthrough with Reslife, who told me that my stay at the hotel could be extended.

That night, I go to the hotel front desk to ask when I should check out by, and the answer was quite harrowing,

“Tomorrow noon.” The lady answered apologetically.

“But my stay is extended.” I plead.

I call Reslife again to confirm my stay is extended and was asked to wait till tomorrow morning. I wake up bright and early and check again. I receive the same answer: the hotel still wants me to leave by noon. But I had no place to go.

Even as I checked out, I asked again if my stay was extended. It was not.

So, I packed my bags and headed to Columbia.

Falling Action: I had thought this was all my problem, for not being able to schedule a COVID test before move-in. However, another fellow quarantiner that I had later met revealed to me that they, too, had their stay at the hotel terminated but was not allowed to move in. Even more shockingly, they did everything right and followed vaccineinfo’s instructions to a T. They had all their tests and vaccines on time and yet, they faced the same dilemma of where to stay for the night.

Ultimately, Reslife extended my stay at the hotel and my crisis was averted. I’m immensely grateful to Columbia for allowing me to stay at the swanky hotel, but also

what. the. fuck.

angry man via Bwog Archives