“If you are currently on campus, we ask you to leave as soon as possible and no later than March 15.”
Those were the words I woke up to on Tuesday, March 10, after a carefree mid-day nap – the kind you can only have in the calmness of spring break. Like many others, I was not surprised; this university-wide announcement was predictable after watching what actions peer academic institutions had been already putting in place.
But predicting it did not make the information any easier to handle, and though Yale administrators’ careful choice of words and offer of support were certainly appreciated, the fact was that the calmness was over.
What followed the eviction notice was fast and blurry.
International students must leave as well. Find a ticket to Brazil. Pack everything I own into three boxes and two pieces of luggage. Let my family know I was returning, and explain what a pandemic meant. Contact friends (the few that were on campus and I could give one last elbow bump).
It felt like post-May move out, but in a silent ghost town. Except there would be no returning in the following year, and I would now have to rush a goodbye to the place I had been calling home for so long.