Stawell's Jayden Dignan will miss the opportunity to say farewell to his peers at his college graduation ceremony.
Spending almost four years, at West Virginia University Institute of Technology undertaking an engineering degree, Mr Dignan made the decision to return home in light of the government guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In less than two weeks, the 22-year-old student has to pack up his life in the US and make the arrangements to come back to Australia, putting measures in place to self-quarantine for 14 days.
"The first information I received from the college regarding COVID-19 was on March 11. It said our spring break would be extended by one week, until March 29," he said.
"Then online classes would run from March 30 until mid-April."
Mr Dignan's parents were to meet him for his graduation ceremony, a family celebration of spending four years on opposite ends of the world.
"I informed my parents of how the situation was changing and we decided that it would be best if they no longer came overseas for my graduation in May," he said.
"I was advised that spring break beginning March 14 was not in my best interest and I should consider isolating instead.
"The university was great as they continued to provide meals when they usually wouldn't. My roommates left three days before me so I spent most of the time packing and sorting my belongings not knowing what the next announcement could mean.
"Being overseas was very stressful as I did not know if I was going to be able to get home and I did not know where I would stay if the dorms got shut down which was likely to happen."
Mr Dignan said he became more concerned about the possibility of not being able to make it back to Australia when flights were getting reduced and travelling restrictions becoming tighter each day.
"Basically every event in America was getting shutdown including restaurants and bars. The supermarkets were extremely busy with not much stock left on the shelves," he said.
"Once I began travelling the only concern I had was flights getting cancelled.
"The airports were very calm and people there did seem relaxed, although there were all sorts of outfits that people were wearing including racket ball goggles and rain ponchos."
Mr Dignan travelled with a friend from university, who lived in Melbourne and travelled "home" on the same flights.
"He was concerned about interacting with his family members and I was able to give him a lift to his airbnb where he would stay during his isolation," he said.
"My father and a family friend were able to bring two cars down to the airport to pick me up, where they gave me the keys to one car and I could travel home by myself."
Taking self-quarantine measures seriously, Mr Dignan hasn't interacted closely with his family, a virtual barrier in place until the 14 days have lapsed.
"I was fortunate that I was loaned a caravan to stay in for two weeks, where I will not using the same spaces as the rest of my family," he said.
"My family are able to bring me food and whatever I need.
"They are not able to touch anything that I have touched so I am using paper plates so all of the dishes do not migrate to the caravan."
Mr Dignan said he feels fortunate he is able to spend his days walking around the yard.
"I am pretty lucky to be able to have some space to move around safely and without putting anyone at risk," he said.
"There are a lot of people out there who aren't in the same position as I am.
"I am still able to walk around the yard so I have been playing some golf outside as well as doing some homework as my university has all shifted online."
Mr Dignan will finish his university degree from Australia, his certificate will arrive in the post once his last assignments are marked.
"I will not miss out on any schooling as there will be no more face to face classes for the remainder of the semester," he said.
"Some things that all students will miss out on is completing laboratory experiments and fabricating our senior design projects.
"It is disappointing that I will not have a graduation ceremony, although it is for the best that we are not having one with the current situation.
"I believe that everybody is disappointed that there's not a graduation ceremony as that would have been the chance to say goodbye to everyone as there are students from all over the world."
Mr Dignan will focus on obtaining employment as a mechanical engineer once the school semester is completed.
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