May 5, 2020

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

I had originally planned on coming home for Spring Break, but this one week vacation turned into an indefinite one. I had planned on visiting all of my favorite places with my favorite people I don’t get to see too often, but am now cooped up at home with only my parents. I can’t complain. I’m grateful to have a roof over my head and loving parents that are supporting me during this time.

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

It was really upsetting. I had high hopes that we’d be able to return to campus. I didn’t pack anything, except for my school books and a week’s worth of clothes. I wish I would’ve known that we wouldn’t be coming back sooner so I would’ve planned better. I left my keyboard in my apartment and really regret not bringing it with me. I could’ve been doing something more useful with my time if I had brought it with me. Instead, I take multiple hour-long naps throughout the day and stay up until 6 a.m. most nights/days.

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

I will be living back home in Brownsville, Texas. It’s the southern tip of Texas. The Rio Grande Valley. Near South Padre Island. I hope that rings a bell.

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

My experience with moving classes online has truly been a whirlwind. Staying motivated has become increasingly difficult as the weeks have gone by. However, my professors have been incredibly patient and helpful. They’ve made themselves readily available to me and my classmates via Canvas, Gmail, Zoom, and Google Hangouts. They’ve definitely made this transition easier and have helped me feel supported. I’d like to name drop some exceptional professors here: Timothy Braun, Mary Rist, Beth Eakman, and Curt Yowell.

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

Before all of this ensued, I attended class every day of the week, worked with the Austin Bat Cave Grant Manager Tammy Beard, worked part-time at the H-E-B near campus, and put together the university newspaper every Monday night. I also taught It’s On Us workshops to various classes throughout the semester. I definitely miss the structure of my old life and miss the fulfillment that these activities/jobs/duties/privileges gave me.

Despite that, this is the only solution. In order to flatten the curve, we need to practice social distancing and stay at home. This pandemic is bigger than me or you, and our aforementioned plans.

This time has proven stressful, but it’s necessary.

How worried are you about getting the virus?

I’m not super worried about it. I haven’t left my house since I’ve arrived to Brownsville. However, I am worried about my parents contracting it. My parents aren’t allowing me to go to grocery stores with them since I had pneumonia a little over a year ago. I worry about them every time they go and come back. They wear masks and gloves, but I still worry. My parents both have pre-existing conditions that make them more susceptible to the virus. If one of my parents were to contract the virus, I don’t know what I’ do.

Do you know anyone who has gotten COVID-19?

Thankfully, no.

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

I’ve followed stay-at-home orders since returning home. I’ve spent my time procrastinating on homework assignments, taking four-hour naps, catching up on some Oscar noms I missed in theaters, and FaceTiming friends. I’ve also spent an ungodly amount on my favorite iPhone application, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. I currently can’t afford a Nintendo Switch so Pocket Camp will have to carry me over until I’m able to get my hands on such a treasure.

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

I only leave the house for my daily, government-funded walk. It’s nice to see neighbors doing the same. It’s nice to know that we’re all experiencing this collective trauma and that we’re all dealing with it the best way we possibly can.

Luckily, I live near some bike trails. While I don’t know how to ride a bike, which is incredibly embarrassing and extra information for the archives, I enjoy running at the trails. It makes things feel a little more normal. I, of course, make sure to stay away from people at the trails and am very cautious.

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

As I mentioned in my previous answer, it’s nice to know we’re all in this together. Everyone’s just as worried as I am. We’re all just trying to make the best out of it. What’s giving me hope is knowing how amazing it’s going to feel to see my loved ones again. And my favorite places. And my favorite people at my favorite places.

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

I really hope the government, both local and national, will implement some major changes. This pandemic revealed many cracks in our country’s infrastructure, and we deserve so much better.

I’d also like to note how important it is right now to be kind and patient. This is an incredibly stressful and uncertain time. The least we can do is support one another.