Getting the News
My cross-media news writing course took a ten-minute break to watch our university’s press conference addressing how our school would move forward in regards to COVID-19. Everyone in my class and throughout campus anticipated the news that was to come – we would not resume classes until at least March 30. By then, Harvard University had already announced that its doors were closing for the rest of the semester and transitioning to “non-residential learning” – a term that would become familiar to students around the world.
I luckily had spring break coming up the following week to relax a little and attempt to reground myself. I was supposed to be attending the South by Southwest festival in Texas but that was canceled along with many other peoples’ plans. The main issue I was worried about is not knowing when I would be able to return to school; too many things were uncertain and out of my control. I desperately sought answers from administrators at my school, but they were as unsure as I was. Then, I received an email on the Monday of my spring break saying I had until Sunday to pack up everything and move out of my dorm completely. I had left only two days prior for spring break, and now I found myself unexpectedly having to drive six hours back to school, find a storage location, and figure out how everything in terms of my coursework was going to play out.
Before I left for spring break, there was an eerie feeling around campus. The picnic dinner outside in the quad where students were out playing frisbee, setting up hammocks, and drinking coffee with friends on a sunny afternoon that week seems bizarre looking back. We were all so joyful about life, and that changed so unexpectedly. I didn’t know when or if I would ever see my friends again. After every class on my last day before break, everyone shared the same “goodbye for now, I guess,” remarks.
Leaving a Community
Right when I finally felt as though I had found “my people,” I was forced to go home. While I had dove into extracurricular activities at school in an attempt to make friends, I struggled with finding individuals I vibed with. Right when I started to find my groove, it all went away. Of course, I am frustrated with having to leave campus so suddenly. However, everyone around the world is struggling too and it’s helpful to remember our own privileges to remain optimistic.
Adjusting to Life at Home
Now that I am home, I have prioritized my mental and physical wellbeing in a way I have not had to before. I am sure that most of us are not used to being confined to the same space for weeks on end with no known date of when this will end. I have found ways to ensure I have the right headspace and am maintaining an active lifestyle. Having #FunFromHome can also be a challenge when, after one week, it feels that you have tried everything. One of the more significant struggles of being home has been trying to complete college-level work remotely while adjusting to a new space.
On top of all of this, my family moved while I was away at school during my fall semester. Between my online classes and schoolwork, I also have to dedicate time to unpacking everything that moved with me from where we lived previously, including my stuff from the dorms. Currently, I am doing my best to organize everything, find ways to concentrate on my schoolwork, and communicate effectively with my family — especially given that we are together 24/7! I like having some form of structure, so it has been crucial to my sanity and academic success to have a sense of organization when I am getting my work done.
Forgetting the Essentials
When leaving college, I knew my life would feel different coming home because I had been in my educational environment for several months. Like many students, I rushed to pack everything I could remember; I never even thought about the fact that I had left a shirt in my friend’s room and a project in a lab until after I got home. Everything happened so quickly that I even forgot about the prescriptions I needed.
The last thing I was thinking about when I was scrambling to shove my clothes into suitcases and take down the posters lining my walls was how to go about dealing with the prescriptions that I had been picking up at the on-campus pharmacy. I know many other students are in the same boat.
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