Type is exactly Story
The blurry yearI just started at Brooklyn College as a transfer student from Citytech. The semester was only like 5 weeks in when we started seeing reports of the Covid 19. Then the school closed for a day and we were told it only be for a short amount of time, we all know how that went. I haven't been on campus since that last day. There was so much unknown at the time with everything. How long we were going to be away from school, what was the deal with Covid 19, how dangerous was it, and how we were going to survive. At that point, everything closed, and the city was so quiet for the first time in my life. I came out a different person after the lockdown. It was a scary time for a lot of people. It felt like everyone was struggling with something. My biggest thing was just trying to make the best of the situation. and that's what I still do to this day.
The Ruth Bader Ginsburg CatioI work at Brooklyn College, but since we have been working remotely, I have been staying in Maine. I have two cats, and perhaps foolishly, I was letting them go out into the great outdoors every day. It wasn't very long before they began hunting and killing little animals-fighting with other cats-even disappearing over night one time. I was getting very stressed out worrying about the cats-this also seemed a ridiculous concern to me in the middle of a terrible time when it has been a struggle to deal with bad news every day; people losing their work, their art, their friends and relatives. Some inspiring news as well, like the #blacklivesmatter #BLM protests, but always the good was in reaction to some atrocity. It seemed as if there was constantly some piece of toxic news as well as some dead animal from the cats every day. I'm not sure how I stood it so long; the whole summer, really. Finally, I woke up on the morning of September 18 to read that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. I thought, there is absolutely nothing now to stop all of our civil rights from being curtailed, the environment from being ravaged, the election from being stolen; so many things that the world has had really for a very short time may well soon be taken away, all because RBG has passed before an election could wrest control from the vicious party in power. When I read the headline I think I screamed out, Oh, no! and started crying. I cried all day long; I had to leave my husband by himself and go for a long walk in the woods alone. I came home completely drained, but calm. The next day, when I let the cats out, they both returned in about 10 minutes, each with a dead animal clamped in their jaws. I thought, I've had enough. I made the decision in that moment not to let my cats out anymore. Since they are now indoor-outdoor cats, that has been very difficult. Yowling, door-dashing, vomiting, even peeing on things: they have done everything they could to make me change my mind. To make it possible for them to enjoy the outdoors, but without killing squirrels, chipmunks, voles, moles, snakes, baby gophers, field mice, and even the occasional bird, also to keep myself from going wild with grief and fear after RBG's death, I took a bunch of scrap lumber from the shed, bought netting and staples, and I built the "Catio" (an outdoor enclosure for cats). While I worked on it, I couldn't hear the miaows of woe from inside the house, and by the time it was finished my heart had poured out some of the bitterness that it holds, for the fact that a new, right wing, anti-liberal supreme court justice can be voted on at any moment. It's just a matter of how soon. I am no carpenter, so my hands were full of splinters and I was bone-weary when I was done. The cats went into their catio with excitement, and tested every corner of it to see if they could escape. I followed them with my stapler and my zip ties, tightening it up. They are not completely satisfied with the catio, but it is a whole lot better than nothing. I've started to supplement by taking them for walks on leashes in the front yard, and who knows, when the next really toxic news cycle comes around, I may well build a bigger, better catio. I want to be a responsible pet owner, and protect the environment-maybe I can't control the terrible big things that go wrong, but I can do just a little bit that I can in my own way.
The causes of COVID-19The COVID-19 pandemic was something I definitely did not expect. It was a shock to not only me, but also to everyone in this world. This pandemic completely shifted my life into something entirely different from what I’m used too. Pre-COVID-19, I did not have to think about leaving my house with a mask on. Now, while we are still in the pandemic, leaving the house with a mask on is part of my everyday essentials. Wearing a mask is currently part of my wardrobe. I bought reusable masks because they are not good for the environment. Global warming is a very big issue that many people do not believe in, but I do believe in. I try my best to help the environment as much as I can, so buying reusable masks is what I did. Also, those medical masks are so expensive now, it is something I cannot afford to keep buying. While on the topic of expensive, I was someone who always carried hand sanitizer with me wherever I went. Now that hand sanitizer is a necessity due to the virus, it was hard for me to find them in stores, and when I did find them, the cost was two times higher than it originally would be. Money became an issue for me due to the change of price in many things. I did not work during the start of the pandemic because I was scared to put my families lives at risk. I work now, but I practice social distancing as much as I can, I sanitize, and I wear a face mask at all times. The hardest part about being in quarantine would be remote learning, and it still is. I was someone who despised online classes. I always avoided taking them. However, due to the pandemic, I had no other choice but to take online classes. I appreciate the effort my professors put into trying to make everything work, but it will never be the same as being in class physically and learning. Taking online classes is so stressful because I am basically teaching myself. Depending on the professor, somethings are just not clearly explained so I am left confused very often. Trying to manage everything in my personal life on top of online classes is not easy. Working academically in the comfort of my own home, with my family was and still is a struggle. I need to be in a different environment other than my own home in order for me to fully concentrate and study for my classes. Another constant issue with remote learning is my horrible WIFI connection. My WIFI has been a mess since quarantine started. Having bad WIFI added on to more stress for my online classes because I needed the internet to finish my work and pass my classes. Nonetheless, the CDC is trying their best to stop the spread of COVID-19. This pandemic has caused a major shift to the world, especially mine. The best thing I can do is to continue to work hard and do the best that I can. We have been in a pandemic for 7 months now. Unfortunately, this is our new normal.
Prospering through a pandemicCovid-19 was an eye opening experience as to how fast life moves and all that plays a part in it.We're taught from young about germs,proper hygienic practices but this disease still seemed to emerge that continues to spread day by day.During these unprecedented times, it is important to be in control of your emotional health,financial and intellectual wellness.Self quarantining was the first and at a point in time was the only thing I, as a New Yorker could do.Being locked in your home everyday,all day due to fear of catching a disease that you have no idea where it came from,no cures, just a mask and anti-bacterial soap/hand sanitizers,or cleaning agents hoping to whisk it all away.As a young woman,growing up in New York,it is indeed true that you are a product of your environment.The city is fast-paced,everyday there is something to do,places to be.My life was made up of work,school,groceries,laundry.I enjoyed the rush, the constant rotation of responsibilities I had.March 19, 2020 It all came to a halt.My job was closed,going to class was now a thing of the past,can't see friends or anyone outside of immediate family,honestly.What type of life was this? All that was left was you,your mind,and time.To ensure that Covid-19 had not taken complete control of my life or my well-being,I kept the mind wandering.The reminder to consistently self-assess and keep the mind free of stress but also alert to not be oblivious to the seriousness of this pandemic.To learn the importance of finances and creating balance now that its uncertain when another check may arrive.Developing new interests,researching various topics,looking for new hobbies ;painting,coloring as a way to keep sane.With all this time spent in the house,its important to keep the mind active and alert and my emotions in check.
Distant but Together- COVID-19 pandemic.Throughout this pandemic it has been quite hard for me and my family because my grandmother is in a nursing home and got the virus. Luckily she is okay and didn't get that sick! However, its been hard and sad to think about how she is all alone in the nursing home still. She can't get any visitors and she stays in her room at all times except when she goes down to do her kidney dialysis. No one in my house had COVID-19 and we were all tested for the antibodies. When we all had to stay home for awhile in the beginning and nothing was open it was nice to be able to spend more time with my family. My parents both work full time and i finally got to spend a lot of time with them. That's one of the brighter parts of the pandemic, I think many families probably grew closer and we realized how much we take our lives for granted. I can't wait to see my grandmother again as i havent seen her since January. I really hope i can see her soon and get to tell her more about whats going on in my life! We talk on the phone almost every day but it's not the same. Slowly life is getting back to normal. I'm excited for restaurants to finally open for indoor eating in NYC after a long time of waiting for the mayor and governor to come to their senses. I'm confident that life will soon be back to the way it was with the vaccine that is coming. This story that i have uploaded is important to me because it made me realize how much i value and love my family. It also made me realize i take them for granted, throughout this pandemic it was scary to think that one of my family members could've gotten the virus. Thankfully we are all healthy and continuing to follow guidelines such as wearing masks when warranted. This year was definitely not as good as other years, but compared to many other people who lost loved ones I'd say this year was pretty good for me. I've learned to count my blessings and thank God every day for keeping me and my family safe and healthy.
Why haven't we done more to protect the lives of healthcare workers?The death of frontline health workers in the US was a tragedy. The majority of those who died were minorities and immigrants. The lack of ppe only made that problem worse, yet they still chose to stick around, wanting to help others. This speaks to my experience as a child of a frontline, minority healthcare worker. I was terrified to see my mother go to work every day, knowing that she would come into contact with this virus and put our entire household, including my then one-year old sister at risk. I don’t feel we have adequately served or protected our healthcare workers. A free meal at McDonalds is not adequate enough compensation given the risk that they were taking. Many did not receive pay increases yet were still expected to come to work every day. The lack of PPE only increased my anxiety. Many times, she was forced to reuse things like masks and gowns because the hospital did not have. She was made to feel like she could not quit or work less because the need for healthcare works was so great. She believed she would be perceived as selfish, and uncaring for choosing her family over the pandemic and its victims which really broke my heart. There were a lot of times that I could see her struggling with the fact that she was helping others but endangering her own family in the process. I have a lot of respect for her because she chose to persevere in the face of Covdi-19 and believe that more of our healthcare workers perspectives and stories should be known. They should receive more than they have and should have been more protected than they were.
The impact COVID-19 had on my mental and emotional health.My experience throughout this unexpected pandemic took a toll on my state of mental and emotional health. When I first found out about how quick this virus was spreading throughout our city, schools were still not closed officially and I was still traveling on public transportation to work. When taking public transportation, due to the lack of masks, I had to wear a scarf around my face because that was the only way I could think of protecting myself. I was anxious all the time, but most especially on the train and bus rides, my anxiety would get the best of me, so much that at times I felt like I had to hold my breath so that I can minimize my exposure to contracting this virus. Once things started getting really bad and schools and non essential jobs finally shut down, it was a slight relief. Switching from in person lectures to virtual learning was not as easy as I had thought it would be. I was now not only anxious and worried because of this pandemic and the health of myself and my loved ones but also because I was having a hard time trying to adapt to a different style of learning. I was taking two science courses, both biology and chemistry which were not the easiest topics for me. To prevent us from "cheating" professors had made the exams much harder which was another stressor. Throughout the spring semester I was staying up really late at night trying to study in every way possible so that I would do well on my upcoming exams. Whenever I had the time to sleep I just couldn't because my anxiety wouldn't let me. I would have never imagined this getting so bad, I thought maybe with quarantining we would have it under control but unfortunately this virus is still on going and who knows when we'll get back to what was considered normal.
When the ideal bar mitzvah is a Zoom MitzvahMy boy-girl twins had their b'nai mitzvah during the pandemic. It went from me planning a big party, to me trying to make them feel happy about themselves on Zoom. But the secret is: This was possibly the best thing that could have happened! My son is autistic, and we were struggling with how he would deal with the sensory overload of performing in a large synagogue. I wrote a story about it that was published in the Forward, and I want to share it here.
My COVID 19 dilemma.Throughout my life I have heard stories about past and all the hardships that was encounter and I never thought I will go through the same thing. 2020 brought about a pandemic that will always be remembered. The virus was heard in December 2019 and everyone downplayed the seriousness of it. Everyone thought it was not serious however as it traveled across the globe it laid waste in its path. Killed about 1 million people including friends of mine who fell victim to it. I was emotionally drained and physically depressed due to our new style of living. We lost what we knew was life. Our every day norm and the whole world was on pause. Class being moved to remote didn’t help me academically because not only was I distracted but I kept thinking of what was going on in the world. COVID 19 affected me by ruining all the opportunities I had lined up for 2020, it wasted 1 year of my life and I failed to do anything productive. If life has thought me anything is that nothing last forever and fortunately we are beginning to enter our old life and I can make up for everything I couldn’t have done this year.
Fighting for Equality during a Pandemic.Back in March 2020, when we were first placed under quarantine, I was scared. I decided that in order to protect myself and the ones I care about, that it was better to stay home. I got my food delivered, if I had to go out, I made sure that I had my 'N95' mask, face sheild and gloves, took all the necessary precautions. Towards the ended of may, when the police shooting started happening again. I realized that even though we are in a pandemic the world hasn't stopped moving like I had, people were fighting for their brothers, sister, and families lives. They weren't fighting for better health care nor more food. They were risking their lives to protest against police brutality in their communities, and everywhere in the world. For the first time in months, I choose to get up and leave my little street, and join the people who were fighting for Black Lives. I found this so interesting, because no one could have told me that I would be marching through NYC during a pandemic. I wasn't only risking my health by protesting, but also my life. I'd seen the news showing the violent protests, cops body slamming people, tear gas in the air, and most importantly people showing solidarity to fight for what was right. And that when I realized time doesn't stop, because you do.