This Isn’t What I Expected

By Ananda Cash

When I first heard about schools closing for the rest of the semester, I was thrilled. The thought of being home and doing my homework on my own time was amazing. I thought I would have the freedom to go wherever I wanted; going to my friend’s house, traveling to other states, going on vacations. I thought I had it all figured out with being sent home for the rest of the semester— but then life told me no. 

Being home for the rest of the semester meant not being able to leave my house unless I had to buy essentials. Being home for the semester meant I couldn’t see any of my friends because of social distancing. Being home for the semester meant I had to be with my family for months without being able to go back outside. Being home for the semester meant everything I wanted to do would never happen unless I wanted to risk getting COVID-19. 

The first adjustment of quarantine was picking where I was going to do it— on campus, or home. I decided going home was the best option. Being on campus without my friends would’ve made me lonely, and my mom wanted me to be with my family, so I went home. 

Leaving my dorm room was very hard. I had to come back from spring break to move out of my dorm and it just felt weird. Seeing my room naked before May made me really sad as I realized I wouldn’t be able to see my friends again for another 5 months. I wouldn’t be able to have the weekend movie nights until 3 am with my friends. I wouldn’t be able to work the night shifts and see people rolling into my dorm drunk with their friends. I wouldn’t be able to take night walks without having to tell anyone. The freedom I had away at school has been taken from me. 

It also made me realize the next time I would be moving in I would become a senior. Senior year means I have to figure out what I’m going to do after I graduate. Do I want to go to grad school or look for a job? If I get a job, would I be able to find one that gives me a stable income; a “real job”? If I go to grad school do I want to do it online or be on campus for class? If I’m going to campus for classes, would I be able to find a place to stay and a way to pay rent? If I do online classes, would I be able to stay at home and do schoolwork without my parents driving me insane? If I decide to get a part-time job, would that get in the way of school? The list is endless and it brings me to panic. 

When I get to that point of the spiral, I stop thinking. I take a moment to breathe and focus only on that.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Once my breathing is in control, I take that time to pray about my worries, and move on from the topic. 

It’s now been a month since I’ve been outside. My dad’s the only one out of the four of us that gets to go out. My mom has been out twice, while my brother and I have been indoors. Being stuck in the house with nothing to do but my homework has been intense, but I found a way to make a routine for myself so I would feel like I’m still on campus. I do my make-up and hair, I close my door and play music whenever I’m doing homework and I give myself occasional breaks to eat a meal or go on social media for some time. During this quarantine, I’ve learned that giving myself breaks in between homework assignments and anything in general is very important for me mentally— tiring myself out to stay productive is not the smart thing to do. So far this quarantine has been an interesting journey,not that I’m used to it, but I can feel myself making it the most productive time period of my life.

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