a college student's quarantine journal (in progress)
Updated: Apr 29, 2020
march 16, 2020:
yesterday was a mixed bag. we dashed up to ND to grab essentials (my laptop, for example) and on the drive home it kind of hit that we most likely won’t be going back this semester. i let myself have that drive back to be sad and sit in the loss of the rest of the best semester of college so far. it had been gearing up to get even better, with my birthday, dorm events, holy half, formals, and even my first blackhawks game on the horizon. all of that canceled now. in all honesty, i was bumming out big time.
today, i’ve been trying to shift perspective. i’m getting to spend a lot more time with my family that i wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. being home is forcing me to be more intentional about the relationships in my life and keeping in touch with people, which makes them that much more meaningful. and, realizing that the worst part of the virus for me is the inconvenience it causes and not the physical danger makes me appreciate my health all that much more. they say we make plans and God laughs, and i think this virus is forcing us to confront that head-on. things are changing so rapidly that we have to take it one day at a time, which is what we’re all trying to do anyways, right? just a few thoughts from me.
march 19, 2020:
yesterday, I was pretty darn sad all day. i guess you could say i was grieving the loss of what i thought the next few months of my life were gonna look like, since notre dame officially called off the rest of the semester. before that, the plan had tentatively been to go back to campus after easter break. i gave myself the day to process everything and kind of sit in it.
i woke up today grateful for the creativity coming out of this whole situation. my favorite yoga studio at home is now live-streaming classes. i missed a certain type of roasted carrots they have in the dining hall, so I decided to make them on my own. for my birthday on sunday i'm thinking a virtual girls night might be the way to go. everything about this situation is unprecedented, which just leaves all the more room for creativity. i had my time to be sad yesterday, but that mindset won’t bring about any good going forward, so i’m trying (emphasis on trying) to focus on the positive.
march 21, 2020:
a week into quarantine and the biggest development in my life over the past 24 hours has been the rediscovery of my bag of yarn and needles from my crocheting phase early on in high school. not quite sure if that’s the quarantine content you’re here for but that's what you’ll be getting. it’s nice to do something with my hands and away from a screen! what hobbies are you rediscovering during the quarantine?
march 23, 2020:
i had a revelation in the shower (aren’t shower thoughts incredible?) that applied to this whole situation—the saddest part about my life right now is how much i miss everyone and everything that used to be a regular part of it. how beautiful is it that i have so much to miss in the first place? realizing this made me all the more grateful for all the good in my life. a friend reminded me of the winnie the pooh quote that goes, “how lucky am i to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
april 27, 2020:
time is a very strange concept. those last two weeks of march spent in quarantine felt like they were about 8 years long, and now we’re knocking at the door of may?! let me know how that happened. i’ll be wrapping up my last week of classes over the next few days and closing out sophomore year, meaning i’ll be halfway through college. it’s not how i thought i’d be spending this part of the year, but it’s what i’ve been given.
over a month into quarantine and with at least another month to go, we’ve settled into a new sense of normal. i’ve been working on taking each day as it comes, planning my afternoons the morning of and not taking anything too deeply. for me, coping has meant taking quarantine as it is, not trying to recoup lost experiences.
my semester abroad, for example, is almost certainly not going to happen in the fall. the university hasn’t called it off yet, but at this point we’re all just waiting for that email. rather than doing the mental gymnastics of trying to figure out how i could squeeze it in at a different point in life—“maybe second semester”, “maybe after senior year”, “you know, one day you could travel there with your family”—it’s been easier for me to acknowledge the semester of experiences lost, grieve a little bit, and more forward. instead of holding on to “what could have been”, i’m looking ahead to the interesting classes i’ll be taking on campus in the fall, or the time (hopefully) i’ll get to spend with my friends after being away for so long.
i promise you i’m not a pessimist—this has been my way of adjusting to the new normal. so often when faced with problems we want to fix them as soon as we can and quell any feelings of discomfort, but the truth of this whole situation is that we can’t fix it. but we can move forward all the same.
april 29, 2020:
maybe it’s all the rain putting me in a more reflective mood, but something that i’ve been wrestling with all of quarantine is missing my life in south bend while at the same time being grateful for this extra time with my family. i know my mom is overjoyed at this opportunity to have all her kids under the same roof again and i’d been feeling so guilty wishing i was back at school, ya know?
my best friend reminded me yesterday that two things can be true at the same time. it’s such a simple idea but so freeing all the same! i can be happy spending time with my family that i otherwise wouldn’t get while also being incredibly sad over the time lost at school. finding joy in quarantine doesn’t mean we don’t miss our pre-COVID lives! there’s a quote that says if you can’t change your fate, change your attitude, and i can’t think of a better perspective for quarantined life.