May 5, 2020

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

I had plans to go home and visit my family, maybe even go on a spontaneous trip with my girlfriend. My roommate also had big plans of going to see his family in the UK prior to the news of the outbreak. I think a big thing that I was always prone to do during spring break was to work at my part-time job at Kerbey Lane Cafe, so that I could save up some extra money for the time being. I didn’t know however, that clocking in the first weekend of March would be my last time working there before I was let go (along with the rest of our staff).

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

I felt a little shocked, and it really developed my whole idea in where the city of Austin, and the rest of Texas might be heading towards in the later weeks of the pandemic. Everything was so new and information was being released seemingly on the hour regarding: ew cases, death tolls, and places of major catastrophe.

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

I have stayed at the apartment which I’ve leased in Austin outside of campus, and that is where I’ve continued my studies in the time being. I was fortunate enough to not need to return home at the time of evacuation from everyone living on campus, however as time goes on and things continue to change this may just be my course of action. But overall no, in terms of where I was living it was not a changed from the usual.

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

My experience with moving classes online has been a double edged sword. On the one hand, it’s allowed me a lot of time to get course materials and activities done without having to fully stress about what I need to complete, but on the other hand I’ve had to deal with stresses about keeping my rent paid and losing multiple jobs/ internships as a result of the virus. So although writing and doing things became a bit easier for me to handle, actively participating and being involved in classes became more difficult.

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

The virus has made me feel a lot of stress and new worries about job security, and how easily it is to lose work in times of drastic measures. Before everything shut down, I was in line to continue a paid internship for another semester, and after this there may have been some chance at a fully time position with the organization. Now, I am unable to continue the work I’ve started, and am starting the application process over again from square one. I also have been feeling down, because of my outward and extroverted personality so I find it hard not being able to physically connect with people and meet new people as well.

How worried are you about getting the virus?

I am worried everyday about getting the virus, however I take all precautions if I ever need to leave my apartment, and not only that but I keep my outside engagements to an absolute minimum.

Do you know anyone who has gotten COVID-19?

I’ve only personally known one person to have contracted COVID-19, and that was my Roomate’s Grandmother who lives in the UK. She was taking all precautions as well, and assumes she contracted the disease while grocery shopping.

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

I’m staying in as much as I can, and when I feel too cabin feverish, I take long drives in different areas of Austin. These are few and far in between though, so to pass the time I’ve been completing work for school, my internship that just concluded, working out, practicing piano, listening to records, reaching out to friends and family that I haven’t heard from in a while.

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

I only go out when I want to go driving or I need to pick up groceries. In Austin though even in the initial weeks of the quarantine I would see people continue to walk around outside without masks congregating around the lakes and popular areas like the 360 bridge. I would never go inside of grocery stores so I wasn’t sure how life was like in that way.

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

I think the biggest thing that’s giving me hope right now, is that new advancements in virus research and development are happening everyday, and I have no doubt that this will eventually be over. I also really appreciate all of the art, television, film, and music thats been released since the beginning of this all; and I think that it’s personally given myself a lot to look forward to as time continues to pass. Thundercat’s new album, “It is what it is”, especially has helped me get by and come to terms with multiple feelings since I’ve started  my quarantine.

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

If there was ever a reason to try and figure out what you really want to do or involve yourself in, it’s now. Regardless if there’s a pandemic or not, life keeps proving itself to be too short for us to not take more hold of it for ourselves and for those that we care about. All of that is easier said than done, but at the very least I know I want to try and keep it in mind going forward.