Tag is exactly routine
The Pandemic StudentBeing a student during the COVID-19 pandemic seemed easy at first since we were all going to be at home for the rest of the Spring semester of 2020. I thought of it as a time to finally relax and slow down on classes now that we were going to be home. But I didn't expect the amount of change the pandemic actually brought to my life. I didn't realize how much I relied on my everyday school schedule to organize my daily routines. When in-person classes stopped, the first week of classes at home seemed easy. I thought I could do it. But as time passed, I realized how difficult it was to keep up with class demands as well as home demands now that both were in the same environment. Some of my classes became asynchronous, while others became live. Waking up on time became difficult when I was able to stay in the comfort of my bed the whole day. And being on my laptop for all of my classes made it easy to be distracted by other things on the internet. Being at home meant I could fall asleep in class without anyone directly seeing me. With no school schedule, such as common hours, walking to and from classes, meeting up with friends during gaps, the routine in my life seemed non-existent. I was at home all day, and my sense of order seemed to fade as the semester went on. The type of student I used to be was usually a lot more punctual, submitting assignments on time, taking notes during class, finishing homework early. But the type of student the pandemic changed me into was lazy, sleepy, tired, late in submitting assignments, more careless about classwork and homework, skipping a lot of note-taking in class, and delaying work. My orderly life, my daily routine, was now out of order and out of routine. It became very hard to be a good student during the pandemic because my lack of motivation swooped low. By Fall semester of 2020, I was already falling off track within the first two to three weeks. By the end of the semester, I even failed to submit an important final on time. Although I was becoming such a terrible student, many of my professors remained understanding, kind, and caring, giving me extended time on late assignments, and providing support when I needed it. I don't think I would have passed all of my classes if it weren't for the kindness of many of my professors. My worst semester was Spring of 2021. I had to take a writing intensive course. Although I was only taking 4 classes, that one class felt so heavy that it was the main course I was focusing on. The course also had a lab section, which would've been better done in-person. Doing in-person classes online was not the best experience. While in an in-person lab students would be working together and classwork would be done together, online we were just given directions and told to submit the classwork after working on it ourselves. It became so difficult that I ended up dropping the class and taking it again in the summer. Though it was my worst semester ever, my professors were still so kind and understanding, supporting my decision and wishing me well. Although it seemed being a student during the pandemic would be easy at the beginning, I quickly realized how far that was from the truth. The pandemic teared apart my routine, which I didn't realize how heavily I relied on. The order in my life felt close to chaotic at some point and affected so many aspects of my life: as a student, a daughter, a sister, my religion, and my social life. Right now, during the Fall 2021 semester, I'm still working on building up my routine and trying to stick to it, despite being at home. I've regained some of my motivation and try to submit assignments on time, but I don't always succeed. Balance is hard when two different parts of one's life—in my case, my school and home life—become one and the same. I had a hard time allocating appropriate time for school and appropriate time for family, chores, and self-care. Perhaps by now I've gotten a bit used to the pandemic, but still prefer in-person as it would bring back that order in my life: waking up, getting ready, going to class, finishing class, doing work during schedule gaps, going to another class, etc. Now my schedule is more like: wake up, class, eat breakfast during class, be unproductive during class gaps, go to another class, etc. And through all this, I'm also on my phone or watching something else, or talking to a family member, or doing something else distracting. However, since I've been trying to build up my routine and increase my motivation, it's been easier to pay attention and work harder in class. As a senior, I obviously want to graduate on time so that is definitely a motivational factor for me to do well this semester. Because in-person class options are now available, I look forward to bringing back order to my life next Spring semester.
Guerrilla Gardening in the Time of COVID-19The operation will take only a few minutes. I don my mask and slip the gloves and pruning shears into my back pocket and take to the streets. Walking briskly, I pass a row of 1900s brownstones, each with a small garden plot in front. On this block the specialty is roses, and every home seems to have a different variety growing. Towards the corner, there is a house with its iron gate ajar, and an overstuffed mailbox by the front door. I had already removed two small bags of garbage and moldering cardboard and a crushed toy fire helmet from the front yard, and also ripped out a row of mugwort that was blocking the big rosebush. I don’t know what variety they are – a peach-colored hybrid, with massive blooms that bent the rose stalks down. I deadhead the big old roses and the stalks spring up, attempting to gash my face. One does nick my arm, and I wipe the blood off on my mask, not thinking that I have left a red splotch of blood in its center, like a tiny pair of lips. Pretty soon I have collected about thirty roses – all massive and past their prime and bring them home in a plastic bag I brought with me. I don’t think anyone would mind, and I am sure the person who planted these roses doesn’t mind. A hybrid rose plant like this needs a lot of tending, but the blooms are enormous. As part of my quarantine routine, I take walks in the early morning. After a while, I got tired of seeing weeds hiding the “nice” plants and began reflexively pulling them. It was fun! Especially after a rainfall, when the weeds pulled out so effortlessly. After a few minutes work I would have a sheaf of shepherd’s purse, lambsquarter and mugwort under my arm. Fortunately, there is always an empty construction yard in our rapidly developing neighborhood, and that’s where most of my weeding crop ends up, lobbed over the green construction fence. Nobody has ever bothered me, except for the times older women will ask if I eat the weeds. Since the trees planted by the city have little tags on them that give tips on how to take care of them, including one that instructs citizens to keep the tree pits free of weeds, I consider that my carte blanche. “I work for Bette Midler!” I want to tell somebody, but nobody asks. Some houses show evidence that they were owned by gardeners that took a lot of pride in their plants but abandoned them this year. I see mugwort and lambsquarter cropping up in beds of well-tended plants –gardens that might have received some care earlier in the season but, for some reason, have been untouched these past few months. I reach over and – yank –problem solved. I know they would do it, if they were able. One home I pass by regularly had an infestation of mugwort that covered some nice lilies and other shrubs. After a few days I had cleared all the mugwort out, and stopped by every so often to rip the tiny mugwort sprouts that persisted – some of the roots are tough, baseball-sized clumps that live for years, and you often find odd things wound up in them like bottle caps and corks. This past week, our local news had the notice of the death a Haitian doctor in our neighborhood of longstanding repute, who had died of COVID-19. For the obituary, they showed not a photo of the man, but of his doctor’s office, which was the old house where I had been waging my war against mugwort. So many have died in our neighborhood – so many gentle people who once sunned themselves in front of their houses and apartment buildings and maintained the cheery tradition of saying hello to all neighbors. When they moved here, Flatbush was cheap, and a family from Trinidad or Guyana could buy decent homes for an affordable price, in what was then a highly unfashionable neighborhood. The untended gardens of my older neighbors are hard to miss, when you know what to look for. “Maybe they just went out of state, you don’t know,” say my kids, when I showed them the peach-colored rose bush I had been surreptitiously tending. They were horrified, and nervous that I was breaking a law. My daughter even closed and latched the small iron gate, while sternly looking at me, warning that I could get arrested, or worse. But I’ll be back. Those roses need me.
My Covid ExperienceThe item that I am submitting is a collection of my experiences that I have with COVID-19, as well as starting off with an experience I had when I was younger before COVID-19. Then I write my experience present day from Thanksgiving, as well as giving it a short ending.
In this TogetherIts a bit of my experience of a day in the life living in the times of covid-19
Covid BluesWith the introduction of Corona to my daily lifestyle I was forced to reflect a lot about the choices I made and also my general day to day routine. Everything was turned upside down on its head and everything I once knew was now unrecognizable. Gone were the days I would spend hecticly trying to rush to and from school running past people to catch a train. Now the only running I was doing was to and from the kitchen because my tv show was going to start and I needed a refill on my drink. Covid introduced a introverts dream and an extroverts worst nightmare. Confined to their houses like a turtle to its shell. Leaving the house became an escape but not before the 30 layers of disinfectants and masking products. But nowhere fun. Only the supermarket and back. But it was still better than nothing.