April 2, 2020

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

I was an intern at SXSW, so I had been planning to work the event since September. I learned that it was cancelled by the city from a text message… which kicked off this time of uncertainty.

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

It was a relief; it gave me a plan I could rely on. I was disappointed with the university’s initial response. Though it was a rapidly evolving situation with various stakeholders, I felt there was enough evidence (and a precedent set by other institutions) to move the entire semester online before we left for Spring Break.

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

I will be living back home in Encino, CA.

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

I think it’s fine. My professors have been flexible, understanding, and primarily focused on maintaining students’ well-being.

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

I went from having classes, an internship, part-time job, meetings for on-campus roles, etc. to a boundless amount of free time. I miss the structure and productivity of my “old” daily life, but this had to happen to keep people safe and healthy. It’s just compliance with common sense.

How worried are you about getting the virus?

There’s a chance I could’ve contracted it over the past month, but I think the same goes with almost every out-of-state student. To prevent exposure, I took every precaution within my means while flying from AUS to LAX. At the same time, I was concerned about the health of my dad and my sister. They flew from Portland, OR to LA to move her out of her dorm around the same time I flew back.

Do you know anyone who has gotten COVID-19?

Yes. I heard that one of my sister’s friends from high school contracted it from his sister (who returned from studying abroad).

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

I’ve followed physical distancing guidelines since returning home. I’ve spent time completing random tasks to feel some degree of productivity. I made a Google Sheet of every film & tv show I haven’t seen (which will probably take years to finish), joined TikTok (which is a really unique social media platform I think every young person should try before dissing), and have become an “expert” on the 2010 late night television debacle (this is how empty my hours are; I love Wikipedia! Oops!).

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

I only leave the house to go for walks and bike rides. I’ve never seen this many people just out in the neighborhood, walking and waving at total strangers. It’s nice.

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

I really hope that after this we might see some improvements in our government. Maybe our leaders will finally realize how unethical it is to require employment for healthcare, which is  basic human right. As of today April 2nd, it’s estimated that over 10 million Americans are unemployed because of COVID19. How are they to seek treatment for COVID19 if they were to become infected? In addition, how are they to cover their basic needs for themselves and dependents? Maybe the answers (which include universal healthcare & universal basic income) will finally become undeniable for lawmakers.

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

I think it’s strange for all of us to deal with what feels like unrelenting bad news. It’s an emotional time and there’s a lot weighing on everyone. Since the government has been slacking severely, we need to consider ways we can help our friends, neighbors, and strangers get through it. We need to use outlets like social media to bring light to fundraisers that support service industry workers, performers, freelancers, employees laid off without severance… everyone financially impacted. Even if we don’t have the means to donate, maybe someone who sees the retweet or Instagram story does. I don’t know… let’s just try to treat each other with kindness, empathy, respect… the good stuff.