April 22, 2020

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

I did. I was planning to do a road trip to Santa Fe for a few days. This would’ve been my first spring break in years where I didn’t have anything keeping me in Austin for that week, either SXSW-oriented (I hadn’t planned on attending this year, before the city canceled the festival) or my job working for a State Representative in the Texas House due to the legislature being in session, as we’re in the interim. It had been a long but productive year, and I was wanting to take some time off and relax in New Mexico by myself for a few days to clear my head and then come back to finish my last semester in a strong fashion. But the day before I was supposed to leave, I decided at the 11th hour that it wasn’t a smart decision. This was before the shelter in place orders or anything like that. It had been strongly advised to avoid any kind of unnecessary travel, so I canceled my hotel room for the week and begun self-quarantining in my apartment that Monday, which I’ve been doing ever since.

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

I was relieved but a little bit stressed that St. Edward’s was taking so long to make this decision. It’s not the fault of the university, as what we’re going through is completely unprecedented, but it’s definitely stressful. I knew that online/distance learning would be a struggle for me (I don’t have a great track record with online classes and I prefer learning in-person), but I would have to make it work. And the option to pass/no pass for our classes was a huge sigh of relief for myself and others.

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

I’m still living in my apartment. I have a full-time job on top of finishing college, so nothing has really changed for me other than I can’t physically go into work or go to class. We’re working remotely from home in our office, and I’m going to class remotely too. I always liked going to study/work on schoolwork at the Munday Library, as I avoided doing work from home since I felt I would be constantly distracted. That has truly been one of the tougher transitions of motivating myself to work on classes from home when the days kind of blend in with one another and nothing changes day by day.

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

It’s been okay. The good thing is that classes haven’t been taking up as much time as they were before they went online, so I’ve been able to dedicate myself to my job more since we’ve been having to help people who are having issues filing for unemployment and other shake-ups to their life because of COVID-19. But the inconsistency with meeting has also shaken up my daily routine, which is incredibly helpful for allowing me to be as productive as possible. It’s been tough to motivate myself to stick to a routine during all of this, as it has been for others.

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

I can’t physically go into work/class, and I can’t go workout like I use to. The latter is nowhere near as important, but my daily routine has been upended, and it can be a struggle to retain something similar to that routine during the week as the days start to blend in. It’s also scary to do routine activities like purchasing groceries, or picking up a prescription at the pharmacy. I also miss the idea of driving places. I had planned on doing a lot of road trips across the state and the country after I graduated in a couple of weeks as of writing this, and those prospective plans have been put on hold. I hope I’m able to visit Santa Fe again in the not too distant future.

How worried are you about getting the virus?

I am taking as many precautions as possible like wearing a face-mask and washing my hands constantly. But I think this is a sign that yes, I am. I think all of us are. I’ve been self-quarantining for this entire time, only leaving my apartment for essential activities per the guidelines by the city of Austin, Travis County, and State of Texas. But that fear still lingers, as it does for most everyone.

Do you know anyone who has gotten COVID-19?

Nobody that I know personally.

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

Yes. I am reading, watching a lot of movies and television, and playing video games more than I normally do.

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

If by “going out” you mean walking in my neighborhood, then yes. I’ll try to walk as much as I can to stay active and be able to get fresh air once a day. I wear my face-mask when I walk, which is definitely a strange transition, and the few folks that I will see while walking in my neighborhood do the same.

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

That we all stay home, socially distance, and do our part to not see people that we want to see in person but virtually during all of this. Once we’re able to flatten the curve and get back to something that looks like daily life again (even though it won’t be the same), that’s what gives me hope/strength. Coming together by staying apart.

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

We will get through this.