Imagine an orca at SeaWorld who has been kept in captivity with only limited space to swim around to. Now that’s exactly how I’ve felt during my time in quarantine, having limited places to go to and simply not being able to go anywhere. I do understand that the point of staying in is to prevent the chances of us getting the virus and prevent the spread of it overall. For many of us staying indoors for this long can take a toll on people’s mental health along with other important health issues. Just like how it’s not ideal for an Orca to be kept in captivity it’s not ideal for humans to stay indoors for this long either.
Life before the quarantine was fun. I was finishing up my final semester at CSUEB, I was also creating my final memories on this campus. I would honestly say I would look forward to attending class, I enjoyed learning something new every day. It was nice having something to wake up to and knowing you had a full day of things to do, the important thing about all of this was just being able to interact with everyone on campus. Most importantly, I was definitely looking forward to walking on that stage on May 16th and have my family come and see me
On top of that, I was excited to see my fellow classmates and the friends I had in my classes. I’m sure we can all agree we miss the classroom setting now that we’re away from it, but I know for many we still don’t enjoy the workload of assignments that we have to do, in quarantine or not that concept for sure hasn’t changed. Despite a workload of assignments we had something bigger to stress about and that was the Coronavirus, and how rapidly it was spreading, sadly it made its way overseas and into the United States.
Next thing we knew on March 15th it was announced that spring semester had come to an end on campus and will be taught online for the time being. That following week, I packed a few things and headed back home to SoCal. I only packed a few things thinking it was only going to last a couple of months; however, I did not expect to get an email explaining that classes were going to be taught online for the rest of the semester and that I had to move out from my school dorm. I went back to the bay to move out. The rest of my things moving out reminded me of the last episode of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air where Will Smith was saying goodbye to his uncle and aunt’s house. That’s just a visual of how I was when I was all packed up and ready to go.
It was time to get used to the idea that my classes were going to be taught online. I’ve taken an online class before so I understood the concept of what had to be done but to have the rest of the semester be taught through was interesting. Knowing that my graduation was postponed I had no desire or motivation to do any of my classwork, my mentality was telling me what’s the point now? Some will say I’m being dramatic, I can see why, but for a student to transfer from a Community College and also be the first in your family to attend a 4 year, it can be upsetting to accept that graduation was postponed and knowing that your family won’t be able to attend those special moments.
Along with not being able to attend all senior festivities that all seniors look forward to doing. So I’ve been trying to cope with that idea and after a while, I’ve come around to the idea that I won’t be having this moment and figure out a way to celebrate at home.
Going back to classes, I mentioned how I had no motivation on doing anything, being at home has been really energy-draining emotionally and mentally for a while all I wanted to do is sleep and I’m not really the type of person who enjoys being indoors and overall sleep. I enjoyed the idea of dressing up for class. The environment is for sure different. Knowing that outside our homes people were dying it made it hard to fully participate because we had to cope with the idea that people are dying but we have to make the best of it by still having classes online. In my opinion, I found it helpful to know that no matter what I had to get myself up for class and virtually attend.
There were multiple moments where I was debating whether I should attend, would it even matter to anyone whether I show up now? Will this zoom class really work? But pushing myself to go really helped me give me a purpose to keep on going even if I don’t have a ceremony will say with lack of interaction we were having already it did help me with our daily intake of socializing. On top of that, I knew I wasn’t alone with the encouragement of our teachers and classmates. It also helped to keep me going. I can also say it wasn’t easy for them either to know that their students had lost their motivation to keep ongoing.
It must have been hard for them to keep them engaged. I do thank my fellow professors who would constantly ask us how we’re doing and try their best to make the situation the best it can be.
Aside from how I felt during the beginning of quarantine, there have been a few benefits or in other words, see the situation as “The glass half full”. During my free time, I finally had time to do things I’ve been dying to do that I could do while I was in school. Such as finally watching cable TV and catching up on a few TV shows and movies. On top of that, I’ve had the opportunity to take out my sketchbook again. It’s also giving me the chance to do deep spring cleaning. I also had the time to go out on walks while of course keeping that 6 feet social distancing.
People on social media have explained that our time during quarantine is a time to pick up a new hobby or build a summer body. This may be true for some people it can be hard for others I don’t think people are being realistic about the situation I’m an optimistic person always trying to find the positive outcome of things but as mentioned before people are dying yet people are telling us when quarantine is over we should have devolved a new look. But it helps someone to get through the time I fully support it because what else are we supposed to do? There’s only so much we can do to feel sane.
It’s crazy to believe how fast everything happened, everything really happened overnight. When I was still living on campus I was scrolling through my social media and watching videos of people fight over toilet paper. I laughed in disbelief. Who would have thought the number one thing that everyone was going to fight over were packages of toilet paper! Out of everything people could have possibly gathered it was toilet paper it really makes me question what we really prioritize during times like these. I also remember going to the grocery store with my friend and roommate to grab a few things and seeing the water section completely empty. It literally looked like an apocalypse had just occurred and gathering as much stuff as we could. All this looked like a scene straight out of a movie. Going back to my trip to the store when it came time for us to pay for our groceries every line was filled with shoppers.
This was my first experience at the store when everything was just starting. Finally settling back home and social distancing becoming more serious the second time I went to the store was Trader Joes. When I first got there was a line of people already lined up outside each person was standing on an x making sure that they were keeping their distance. They were only letting 15 people in at a time and if you wanted a shopping cart you had to wait until you got to the front of the line since every cart was getting sanitized after every use.
While I was waiting there was this older lady who seemed to be in her 80’s talked to me about when she was a little girl living at the United Kingdom during World War 11 she remembered how everyone was seeking for food, then explained how it was never like this meaning people never lined up for the stores like this she also mentioned when the attack happened at Pearl Harbor people still did not line up like this. With these types of situations, history can truly speak for itself with how people have changed over the years as to what we have prioritized and acted.