Quarantine Silver-Lining Moments.It is quite obvious that the Class of 2020 all share a collective disappointment with graduating via zoom but I personally had no problem with it. I honestly believed that it was a blessing in disguise, I didn’t have to sit in the hot sun and wait for my name to be called, wait there awkwardly as the teachers give an mediocre speech about me, and lie to all my classmates face when I claim that’ll I miss them and promise to keep in touch. In the beginning of Virtual Learning, I was the happiest I’ve ever been, which was due to the majority of my teachers teachers that were having a difficult time adjusting to online learning and were only able to assign one work sheet per week. During the first week of the pandemic, I was able to actually find my true self, my dislikes and likes, my ambitions, and my fashion sense. Although it got tiring staying home for the majority of my time, I still preferred to stay home and keep my safe from this deadly virus compared to actually having a social life, I learned that I appreciate my company and being alone more than I thought. As some may find quarantine completely damaging to their mental health and are unable to spend their days inside, it did the opposite for me, It improved my mental health drastically and gave me time to begin my journey of self-love and because of this I honestly would not mind if New York implemented yet another lockdown. I believe it would be beneficial to everyone because it would not only flatten the curve but it could potentially allow us to have less restrictions during the summer.
The one where we were quarantinedquarantine has truly been an experience like no other although there has been plenty bad there has also been some good I enjoyed being able to be home with my family more and get to bond on another level much like how we did when we are younger we got to do things like bake, tie dye and watch movies I do wish it was under different circumstances but none the less I am happy I was able to be with my family.
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.
Growing Tired of ThisThis might be long, but quarantine has been one of the worst experiences in my life. At first, I was kinda cool with the fact that I didn't have to go out. Not having to sit in classrooms for hours, not having to deal with hundreds of people at school, not having to deal with intense anxiety anymore! Life seemed pretty good for me at that time. Online classes during my last months in senior year of high school wasn't too bad. But when it came time for college, I was panicking. I mean, who wouldn't? Starting a brand new experience right in the middle of quarantine? That'd shake anybody in their boots. Like most things, it wasn't too bad at first. Sure, Zoom was pretty annoying to figure out, but things seemed to be running smoothly. However, in my opinion, trying to figure out Blackboard is a nightmare. That site is sooo not user friendly, it's such a complete mess. To this day, I'm STILL having trouble with it. The work load isn't too harsh, but trying to muster up the energy to do even anything during this pandemic is difficult. Everyday has started feeling the same: wake up, feel miserable, force myself to eat, try to do something productive (while feeling miserable), go to sleep, rinse and repeat. My depression has never hit this hard until starting college. On my worst days, I literally cannot bring myself to get out of bed and make myself food. I lie there with zero energy until the sun goes down. It'd be 6-8pm before I finally drag myself to the kitchen for a light meal (which is the same thing I've been eating for the past several months) or for a long, hot shower. I can hardly bring myself to focus on school work. As of writing this, it's currently 4:51 AM. My sleep schedule is an utter disaster. On most nights, I end up staying up till the sun rises. It's not too uncommon that I stay up for 20+ hours. Though this all comes crashing back to me when I end up sleeping through class Zoom calls, or even oversleeping and missing my classes entirely (it's happened twice so far and both times have spiraled me into a deep depressive episode that I won't be describing). Trying to be productive during quarantine is a joke. I have a lot of things around me that can entertain and distract me. How am I expected to focus when Twitter, YouTube, and Discord are in my reach 24/7, you know? During my classes, I just tune everything out. What's even the point of listening, when professors ramble on for a two hours about things you don't even care about, when all the assignments just consists of reading a bunch of articles that bore you to death and then having you write some response (that you can easily BS) to it? I never thought I'd say this, but I just want to be allowed to go out again. I'm tired of all of this. I'm so exhausted. Learning virtually is mentally draining. It can hardly be considered learning. I doubt anybody is really even absorbing any information being given to them during these virtual meetings, save for the few innocent souls that haven't been tainted by quarantine depression yet. I'm so sick of it all. I can't focus. I can't bring myself to do anything. I just can't anymore. (Also isn't it kinda stupid how they're letting literal children go back to school and yet campus won't be open? Okay sure, maybe it's because CUNY has way more students, but still. I wouldn't trust a 5 year old to properly wear a mask for the whole day and practice good hygiene. Kids are messy.)
Fear of the UnknownDealing with the coronavirus, I now appreciate the outdoors and what I previously considered daily hassles have become beautiful memories. I have become more patient as the unsurety of the situation is intense. We are left wondering when public institutions will open or merely when we can step outside the house without worrying about the six-foot distance with others. The initial shock and denial have metamorphosed into solidarity among communities and humankind. Whereas otherwise we would have ignored the part of our routine in which we communicated with others, we now felt a longing for that same one-minute interaction. The minute-by-minute increase in deaths instilled fear in the hearts of many and individuals were living on the edge. It was fear of the unknown and desperation for an end to this extended period of isolation. The most significant change I am noticing due to this pandemic is that people have mellowed down. People have put their fast-track life on pause, specifically New Yorkers, and are waiting out the storm to pass. During the pre-quarantine life, not many would have payed attention to the needs of their elderly neighbors. However, the current situation has encouraged everyone to be on the lookout for anyone who needs help. People have become more sympathetic and I envision the same of the post-coronavirus world. The world will change in the future as a result of this pandemic as everyone will become more cautious, constantly monitoring the littlest of changes in our health. People will think twice before touching their face or a seat on the bus. Ultimately, I envision a post-pandemic world to be more sensitive and informed.
A Moment in TimeWhen the pandemic started effecting businesses that is when I saw things really start to shift. Family members, coworkers, and friends were losing their jobs or being converted to working remotely. For majority of the adults in my life, I remember feeling their worry of their future and their children's futures as well. Most jobs were unpredictible and there were still bills to pay. Kids were no longer attending school in person so this added another layer of stress. Worksheets needed to be printed out daily as well as the constant back and forth with teachers via email to enter the virtual classrooms through zoom links and passwords. In my home things were a bit all over the place. We are a big family of eight so things tend to be this way. A typical day in quarantine was as follows, I was considered an essential worker so I would leave to work before anyone woke up and when I came home I would take over the household so my parents could finally be able to work. My parents had to work remotely while simultaneously managing my five siblings that are all under the age of 12. Three of the five children were attending school remotely which meant preparing all the necessary worksheets, tablets/computers, and zoom links. The remaining two children are under the age of two and require a lot more hands on attention throughout the day. Luckily, we were able to have a fulltime babysitter before the pandemic hit but once the numbers of cases went up my family couldn't risk having anyone come into the home. At the time, nobody knew when the shutdown would end or what would have to change for everyone to feel safe leaving their homes but it was definitely an opportunity to really connect and grow as a family. It is rare that a family has an experience as a whole and I am glad we were all able to work together and make the most of this time. Regardless of age, this pandemic has effected us all incredibly and I will definitely look back at this strange time and appreciate the quality time I was able to have with my family.