April 22, 2020

Did you change your spring break plans because of the virus? From what to what?

Not really. I was always going to stay here in Austin, but it did change how I interacted with friends who had stayed. I started taking early precautions by not hanging out with anyone as soon as school ended for break because of the news back in my home state (I am from California). The only people I interacted with at that point were grocery store attendants and my small office of 3 people at my internship. My internship was eventually cut short due to local government shifting towards working from home (I interned with the federal government).

How did you feel when you were informed the remainder of the semester would be held online?

At first I felt unprepared because I feel like school should have just told us right out the gate that classes will now be online for the rest of the semester. Especially with how rapid this virus had spread at that point, I would have felt better if they just told me sorry you can’t go back to school. Other schools were already on it and saying “class is online for the rest of year” right away. I felt a little deceived because they did get my hopes up that this would pass quickly, and that I would still be able to see my friends and give a goodbye to my professors in person one last time. To also tell us a couple days or day before we were suppose to start online classes was also kind of jarring.

Where will you be living while courses are held online? Is this a change from usual?

I am living in my off-campus apartment here in Austin until what was suppose to be my graduation date. I got out of school housing after I was put in a hotel when the Pavilions were not made on time, so I have been living here for awhile now.

What has been your experience with moving classes online? What’s good? What’s not so good?

It’s been okay. I feel like I am lacking because when I went to class physically, I had structure. I had to go somewhere and do something, but now I don’t go anywhere. I also sometimes get lost in Canvas because some professors will just upload every file unorganized and I have no idea what’s going on. Professors have been understandable though and I appreciate that a lot.

How has the virus (and the precautions taken to prevent it spreading) impacted your daily life?

I usually do not go out at all, but when I do go out to buy groceries I wear a mask all the time. I have leftover N95 masks from when the Camp Fire in California hit nearby cities and created a lot of smoke in the air, so my parents shipped some out to me. I also have a reusable mask that I put over the N95 mask in hopes that it will last longer since we are in short supply of them. I also have homemade hand sanitizer that my dad made for me that I use every time I go out. I put some on when I enter a store before grabbing a cart and put some on as I leave the store.

How worried are you about getting the virus?

Somewhat worried. I am more afraid of being a carrier (no symptoms showing) than actually going through the painful process of getting it because I don’t want my parents to get it. My dad is diabetic and over 60 years old. He’s the most vulnerable in this population and I don’t want him to die.

Do you know anyone who has gotten COVID-19?

Personally, no. I do know that my best friend’s uncle’s brother-in-law died from it recently though.

Are you staying in? What are you doing to pass the time?

I am staying in. I am currently playing Animal Crossing, reading books, or watching movies. I live alone and I grew up as an only child, so being isolated and “bored” is not really a big issue for me. Especially since I had two working parents, I was usually doing something by myself to pass the time.

Are you going out? Where do you go and what is it like?

I only go out for groceries or to do my laundry which is in a building below my apartment. I stock up on groceries once every week or two, but I am very privileged to also have my grandma send me food through Omaha Steaks. These are meant to be in the freezer, so I usually do not have to go to the store for about 2 weeks straight until I run out of stuff like eggs, oat milk, bread, fruit- basically food I can not freeze. Sometimes I will just go without it during the 2 weeks if I run out beforehand because if I have food and water in the house, I’m fine. I can go without the luxury of making a pancake for a bit. I will sometimes walk and during that walk I will go and pick up my mail at the mailbox. I usually do that once or twice a week.

What is giving you hope and/or strength right now?

The thought of going home. I definitely want to get out of Texas and see my family. Even though I am used to being alone, the thought of a pandemic and being states away from your family is rough to think about.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about what you’re feeling or experiencing right now?

Hope that we will find a vaccine. Hopefully the theory of blood from recovered patients works out to treat patients in the long run, but that could take awhile to figure out if it actually helps or not for everyone. I am also very grateful for every essential worker out there. My parents are both essential workers, so I know the feeling of being scared for them if anyone else out there knows someone who is one too. It’s hard and scary, but they’re the ones keeping us safe, fed, etc. But in relation to that, I am also mad that our government isn’t doing enough to protect essential workers. Yes, we need them, but since we need them to basically live, we should be treating them with more respect and dignity than the way we are now. They need PPEs- plain and simple. My dad works for the Department of Health and Human Services and he still can not get any form of PPE when on the job. As an essential worker, he has to physically go out of the office to do his job and interact with random people daily with no mask. He is forced to use his own supply from home which is running out because of his job. It’s just ridiculous on how this administration is handling things and that’s all I’ll say on that.