Languishing through my walking closet museum

Main Gallery

Boots, not recollection when last exhibited. Almost forgot these existed.

Fancy summer shoes, all acquired for the collection “Summer 2019.”

NEGRO, MARRÓN CLARO, CAFÉ, ROJO, ROSADO, AMARILLO, ANARANJADO, AZUL, VERDE, MORADO Y BLANCO.

Dresses, Blouses, Jackets…All still. Reminders of momentums when these were displayed.

Down Gallery

Pants, unassessed since March 2020; some will be heading to other collections, at other museums.

Season Gallery

Luggage, empty, in good condition.

Extraño la vida antes de la Pandemia.

Diarios en tiempo de pandemia

Me hace sentir triste y cansada. Yo no conozco la universidad, y tampoco tengo experiencias en la universidad porque no vivo en el campus. El lunes, miercoles y viernes yo tomo español, comunicaciones y finanzas. El martes y jueves tomo economía y estadística, este semestre fue duro.  No tengo amigas en la universidad. Mi familia es muy grande, hay siete personas en mi familia. Mi madre, padrastro, hermana, hermano y dos hermanastras. Qué vas a hacer este verano? Yo me voya divertir este verano y voy a estar en el sol.

Diarios en tiempo de pandemia

Spanish:

El año pasado fue difícil para todas las personas. Aprendí mucho sobre mí como persona y como amigo. Lo más importante que aprendí es hacerme feliz y saludable. Así fue como encontré mi amor por el levantamiendo de pesas y correr. Es muy bueno para la mente y la salud.También aprendí que decirle a tu familia y amigos que los amas es necesario y no terminas de decirlo. la pandemia fue mala pero me ayudó a entender mi amor por las pesas, correr, mi familia y amigos.

English:

Last year was difficult for everyone. I learned a lot about myself as a person and as a friend. The most important thing I learned is to make myself happy and healthy. This is how I found my love for weight lifting and running. It is very good for the mind and health. I also learned that telling your family and friends that you love them is necessary and there is never a bad time to say it. The pandemic was bad but it helped me understand my love for weights, running, and my family and friends.

Three things I learned about SUNY Oneonta.

Talk to incoming class fall 2021.

Good evening, I am Maria Cristina Montoya and I teach in the Foreign Languages and Literatures department since the new millennium started.

Allow me to recreate for you the three most important things I have learned about Oneonta:

First,

We are a community that cares, helps each other, collaborates, recovers, and starts again.

I learned this in the classroom:

a) by observing my students diverse learning styles.

b) with my colleagues who collaborated to switch gears and teach fully online within a one week time frame.

c) with the entire institution by powering multiple TEAMS of us to plan, to act, to recover and to start again.

Second,

We are all about traditions.

Let me give you my three favorite traditions :

a) Before pandemic times, every fall, first day of classes we had an opening brunch in the middle of the quad. All students, faculty and employees ate and chatted together. It was exciting to see everyone back and eager to learn and to experience.  It was really like a college carnival.  I wish for that to happen again, after pandemic, when we all may eat together in a large group.

b) Ice cream for freshmen after passing through the pillars.  It signifies their entrance into the four years of a “roller coaster ride” of their undergraduate education where they discover a lot of themselves, grow and become critical thinkers with coherent arguments to state their positions about themselves in the world.  During the motivational clapping as they walk down to the quad, they all look like toddlers to me. This year I will have one of my own in the crowd, an Oneonta Native.

c) Champagne for seniors as they pass the pillars on their way out into the “real world”.  This happens every graduation eve, and I do not miss the opportunity to celebrate with a drink to my graduates. I also collect the fancy champagne glasses that are given to keep.  I cry and clap on that day, all of them are my own.

Third,

On April 4th, year 2000, during my job interview, I learned that Oneonta was the place I wanted to grow.

And “Ay Dios” if I have grown:

a) I grew a family, counting six members now, and an immigrant adopted dog from Colombia.

b) I grew a career in higher education:

  • I learned to engage my students.
  • I learned to challenge them to be creative and critical thinkers.
  • I learned to guide them to be successful and passionate in all they do.
  • I learned to master ideas, to propose and create fun applied learning experiences for my students, for example:
  • Collaborative Online International learning, connecting my classroom to another classroom in the world.
  • Faculty led-off courses abroad with students and faculty colleagues. I have done five of them and the adrenaline that runs through my blood during these experiences is hard to describe, I am mesmerized when I see their eyes upon discoveries.
  • International faculty partnerships to enhance and diversify our teaching practice.
  • Community outreach through the Multicultural Community Center, where students volunteer hours to serve local, national, and international communities by teaching languages and assisting children with any academic need.  More importantly now, during pandemic when we are all learning online.
  • Creativity in research and digital innovative projects owned by students and networked with Oneonta alumni, such as the “Living Bilingual Blog”.

There are a lot more examples that each faculty at Oneonta offers to engage our students.

And lastly,

c) I aged happily going to work.  I must be thankful of my privilege.  I am a lucky human being who loves to wake up every dawn, at 4am, to work.  It is true, so if you are a student in my class, and sleep with your phone ON besides you bed, I will wake you up before the sun, with my daily announcements or reminders.

There are three things I learned about SUNY Oneonta:

1. We are a community.

2. We value traditions.

3. It is the place where I chose to grow.

MC

I didn’t check to see how many people died yesterday

In November I wrote that I was constantly Doomscrolling. I was obsessed with looking at numbers, trends, maps, risk levels. I said I didn’t check the weather outside, because I didn’t go outside anyway.

I know the pandemic isn’t over. I know that just because I have received my first vaccine I still need to mask up, follow social distancing. But I can’t help but feel that a weight has been lifted from my mind. It’s not quite hope I’m feeling, but an absence of constant dread. When I look back at this Pandemic Diary Project, what I think about most are the posts I didn’t write, when I was too overwhelmed to put anything together.

  • Early in the Pandemic, I really struggled with my chronic migraines. I had a migraine that would not go away, and I ended up in the emergency room because no other doctor would see me including my doctor or the urgent care. The ER staff was amazing, but it was frustrating that no one else would see me.
  • Later, one of my friends had an uncle die from Covid-19. At a time when the pandemic seemed to be something that was happening to other people, it was my first connection to someone who died of the disease.
  • When my own uncle got the disease, I couldn’t bring myself to write about it. He is fine now, but it very easily could have gone the other way with his other conditions.
  • When my aunt died of cancer, I was angry that she spent time in pain and alone in the hospital because of limited visiting. I still feel like I don’t have closure because my family couldn’t gather and grieve.

The Semester of Living Dangerously has helped me through all of this. Even when I couldn’t write myself, it helped to know that other people were feeling the same things. The entries of others people captured my feelings even when I couldn’t write them myself.

Pandemic workout

“You can do a workout with a N95 mask?” asked my friend as we passed each other in front of the entrance to the large gym at the local YMCA.  I am not sure if he was in awe or incredulous because his expression was hidden behind his surgical mask.  “It’s not a N95 mask. It’s a KN95 mask and yeah, I can”, I replied. 

Doing high impact aerobics with a mask is certainly a better alternative to what I had been doing since the beginning of the pandemic when the YMCA temporarily closed its doors.   Attending my Thursday evening fitness class has been an important ritual for several years and it became even more essential in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis.  As a result of the pandemic, class was now on my iPad with my instructor, dear friend, and library colleague, Kim, leading her students via Zoom.  My classmates were dots on my screen.  My workout space was now in the guest room in my house.  The room nicknamed “the man cave,” is roomy enough for guests but a tad confined for a workout. 

I am very grateful that Kim continued the class virtually.  Her weekly workout helped me to cope with my day-to-day normal stress and elevated, pandemic related anxiety.  Nonetheless, I missed her in-person positive energy, the camaraderie of the other members of class, and the spacious fitness room.  Looking at a small iPad screen was becoming challenging.  And after a long day of work-related Teams’ meetings, spending time on Zoom for exercise was less than ideal.  Despite this, the alternative, not attending Zoom aerobics, was an unviable option.

Thankfully, aerobics and other fitness classes, with very strict protocols, resumed at the YMCA in the summer.  I leapt at the opportunity to return to in-person aerobics.  No more iPad!  No more Zoom!  No more dots! No more confined man cave! That being said, I was now required to adapt to the many rules associated with pandemic era, in-person fitness instruction: class size is limited, pre-registration is compulsory, social distancing is obligatory, and mask wearing is mandatory.

Wearing a mask during the workout is not without its challenges.  The mask makes my face hot and irritates my skin.   Breathing can be tricky. Nevertheless, these inconveniences are worthwhile because I can exercise in a spacious, well-ventilated facility with my instructor and fellow participants.

Recently, as I was about to enter the Y’s gym for class, I overheard another member expressing his fatigue with wearing a mask.  He was so tired of it.  I empathize with him; however, when the choice is between exercising virtually on Zoom without a mask or exercising in-person with a mask, I choose in-person with a mask.

Seven

Seven.

For many people, seven is a lucky, fun number. Seven wonders of the World! Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs! Three sevens for the slot machine jackpot!

For me, seven is none of those things. Seven is the number of people I have lost due to COVID.

It started in the final week of last March and continued with frightening regularity over the ensuing nine months. Death seemed to stalk me. I started to dread looking at my email or getting a phone call from a relative. For whom is “Death” the last friend now, escorting my loved ones away?

The first one was the hardest. The shock factor really hit home. My work kept me sane. I buried myself in books and work to keep my mind off of the loss, off of the lack of the funeral, off of the idea that the ashes were in a can in a “holding room,” waiting to be picked up at some future, unspecified time. I told myself that others have it worse, be grateful for what still remains.

But the numbers piled up. The phone kept ringing. Often the end came so quickly that the phone call related the scary trip to the hospital, the valiant efforts by medical professionals, and the excruciating end, all in one breathless statement. I started to mourn quickly, speeding through the process, not really letting any of it settle in for fear I would not be able to cope.

This past weekend marked the one-year anniversary of COVID – the lockdowns, the fear, the death. In the chill of early March, as the evening settled in, I sat outside, alone in the woods. I remembered all those who have left me and I cried and I cried and I cried.

AUTOBIOGRAPHY, VOCATION AND PANDEMIC

Miguel Leon

One of the most positive aspects of quarantining during this pandemic is that it has forced us to find new ways to communicate with others using alternative means. One is via virtual calls. Constant communication via virtual calls is, in and of itself, representative of a new era of communication. You discover new ways of talking to your parents, your family, friends, colleagues, coworkers, etc. New topics have emerged which is a pleasant surprise. Before the pandemic, I started a new project: writing an academic autobiography about my life as a professional historian. These virtual conversations have provided me with a lot of new material for my autobiography by listening to family and friends talking about their lives and common experiences and has taught me so many new things about remembering and selective memories.

                A crucial part of my autobiographical reflections is related to my interest in regional history of Peru. One of the most important sources of inspiration for my decision to become a historian was to study the history of the regions of my ancestors, these two are: Huánuco and the Conchucos region.   During the pandemic, I was invited twice to share my research on these regions via virtual talks. I was happily surprised by the new things I learned through these talks and the audience’s feedback.  First, I did not know that I had a larger audience. With Facebook Live I was able to learn that approximately 600 people were interested to see my talk. Some of these people, who live in small towns and even small Andean communities in Peru, followed my bibliography and asked very specific questions about my books.  I remember early in my career traveling to these regions and small towns with the desire to share my findings. It seems that now that I live 3,650 miles away, I discovered a new way to reach them. Second, one of the talks I gave was about the value of the documents of the Regional Archives of Huánuco. This talk was very personal because I heard recollections from workers of this archive and memories that they had about me as a young historian. Empathy was not one of my virtues during that time of my life. During the 1980s, to support myself I had to work my last two years of college, so I conducted my research during vacations. In one of my visits to the archives of Huánuco, I was not too happy to lose a half day of research because the workers of the archive were celebrating “Archivist Day” and I complained about it. Thirty years after that moment no one has forgotten my behavior and make humorous remarks about it today.  Yes, I was very passionate about reading the documents, discovering new things every day, waking up in the morning and knowing that the documents were going to provide me with another piece of the puzzle that I was solving. Now I laugh at myself and I celebrate the fact that even though I was a bit intolerant as a young historian, the workers of the archive remember it with a mixture of scandalous joy. 

                During 1997 and 1998 I did archival work in the Huánuco archives for my dissertation. Thanks to Columbia University and other institutions I was able to spend several months working in these archives. The Director, Deomar Hidalgo, (rest in peace, unfortunately died in a car accident a few years ago) was especially supportive of my work. While doing research, I talked to him about my research agendas and listened to him talk about his plans of cataloguing and indexing colonial documents. I finished my dissertation in 1999 and published it as a book in 2002. I went back to Huánuco as a SUNY professor many years later. In one of the many conversations, he sounded a bit frustrated with the fact that I now live in New York and I have many time constraints because I always had to return back to the USA. “Why did you move so far, Miguel?” he asked me.  I was caught by surprise and could not answer. He did not wait for an answer.   I still don’t know how to answer that question completely but I guess I found in New York a place to work well as a historian of regions of Peru despite that enormity of the distance. The pandemic, although horrific and cruel, has taught me that no matter the distance we can still continue to communicate, learn and support from one another.        

A COVID CODA TO BABY YODA (AND WILD TURKEYS FOR GOOD MEASURE)

Posing after receiving my second vaccination: After my encounter with the wild turkeys but before meeting Baby Yoda!

It is perhaps befitting an extremely weird year that my final blog entry should revolve around wild turkeys and Baby Yoda. Though at first not obvious soul mates, these types of creatures do fit together in the menagerie of my mind as revealed during my second vaccination and immediately thereafter between February 16-17, 2021.

I will lay it all out for you.

The wild turkeys were unexpected. On February 16, I was duly driving up Otsego County Road 33 on my way to the Otsego County Meadows complex for my second Moderna vaccination. Having had my first vaccination without major side effects a month before and with the weather relatively clear for a February morning in upstate New York, I had few concerns. I was driving the sole car on a country road approaching my destination with a set goal in mind. I was listening to NPR. My second vaccination would put me on the path to immunity. I could teach the in-person part of my dual modality class with confidence. I would be protected from this awful disease and a life of  normality beckoned. Which of course is where the wild turkeys came in.

Let me assure you gentle reader that when a middle-aged professor is carefully driving below the legal speed limit up a country road towards a medical rendezvous the last thing he expects is a flock of not so bright birds sitting on the road. Now don’t get me wrong. I have a certain respect for the glory of the American turkey. Though raised in Canada, I partook of turkey dinners for Canadian Thanksgiving (celebrated in October but I digress). I eagerly adapted to American Thanksgiving and have eaten my fill of this fine bird for the November celebration. However, I was less than thrilled to see them sitting on County Road 33 without a care in the world. I cursed, hit the brake to slow down further, swerved ever so slightly and that did the trick. I avoided turkey catastrophe. The ungainly birds slowly took flight one after the other and thankfully avoided making communion with my windshield. I was safe and so were they. I did reflect briefly on the historical claim that Benjamin Franklin recommended the turkey as the official symbol of the United States rather than the bald eagle. However, I got over it. I got my second Moderna shot and drove home without incident.

Which brings me to Baby Yoda. The second vaccination went well. My arm did not hurt as much as after the first one (minimal Tylenol was needed). I wisely took the next day off from major work duties and thought I would do some academic reading or light work around the house. Boy was I wrong. My brain felt mentally foggy (though I guess my wife and work colleagues would say that was only slightly different from my brain on most days).  To be accurate my brain felt MORE mentally foggy than usual. My arm throbbed a bit. However, I was tired. What better way to spend the day than to lie on the couch and watch streaming of “The Mandalorian”? Which I did. I had been meaning to watch it for ages but have been too busy. As my brain drifted in and out of naps, I had some incredibly lucid dreams. I also met Baby Yoda on screen. Small, green, and wise, Baby Yoda was the polar opposite of those stupid turkeys that I almost collided with the day before. Baby Yoda endured numerous adventures, briefly revealed the powers of “the Force” and ran off with the Mandalorian’ s main character (a bounty hunter who has a fit of remorse) for safer pastures. What could be better?

In closing I hope to see much more of Baby Yoda in the future. I also hope never to see a wild turkey again.

Diarios en pandemia

Cuando la pandemia llegó por primera vez a mi país, no pensé que fuera real. Estaba muy confundida por lo que era porque no había pasado por algo como esto antes. Me di cuenta de que era serio cuando pasaron 6 meses y las cosas solo estaban empeorando: ver gente caminando con máscaras, asustada de acercarse a otros, usando desinfectante de manos y con guantes donde quiera que iban y mirándote extraño si estornudabas- se convirtió en nuestra nueva normalidad. No recuerdo cómo es ir a clases en persona, ir a la biblioteca o la unión para comprar un café y hablar con amigos, o hablar con los estudiantes y profesores cara a cara en la clase, es difícil despertar cada día sabiendo que haré exactamente lo mismo que hice el día anterior. Mis días parecen ser muy repetitivos y no emocionantes, desearía poder volver a tiempos anteriores a la pandemia para terminar mis años universitarios. Mirar mi computadora todos los días durante todo el día ha sido muy agotador y me hace sentir como un zombi. Me siento muy decepcionada y frustrada porque la mitad de mi tercer año aquí y todo mi último año se está desarrollando de esta manera, y que no podré cruzar el escenario en la graduación frente a mi familia y todos mis profesores. Es difícil vivir en estos tiempos con 21 años, pero seguiré tratando de ser lo más positivo que pueda a medida que avancen los días.

When the pandemic first came to my country, I didn’t think it was real. I was very confused about what it was because I hadn’t been through something like this before. I realized it was serious when 6 months passed and things were only getting worse – seeing people walking around in masks, scared to approach others, using hand sanitizer and gloves wherever they go, and looking weird at you if you sneeze – it became our new normal. I don’t remember what it’s like to go to class in person, go to the library or the union building to buy coffee and talk with friends, or talk to students and teachers face to face in class, it is difficult to wake up each day knowing that I will do exactly the same as I did the day before. My days seem to be very repetitive and not exciting; I wish I could go back to pre-pandemic times to finish my college years. Looking at my computer every day for the whole day has been very tiring and makes me feel like a zombie. I feel very disappointed and frustrated that half of my junior year here and my entire senior year is unfolding in this way, and that I won’t be able to cross the stage at graduation in front of my family and all my professors. It’s hard to live in these times at 21, but I’ll keep trying to be as positive as I can as the days go on.

Proud to be a naturalized U.S. Citizen.

Today, January 20, 2021, was full of symbolism, pride, and hope. Twenty-five years ago, I had sworn to the flag of the United States of America to respect and contribute to this country, my second home. Back then I felt obligated, committed, and compromised by the possibility of opportunity; however, my heart was still nostalgic for the land south that raised my consciousness, still did not see me mature.

I have matured surrounded by good people, honest and loyal U.S. Americans. As an immigrant, and outsider, I only noticed division of the union and the principles that thread this democratic project in recent years. I feared discrimination and the social nightmare that most of us escaped when we decided to cross the border. I even suffered through the idea I had to leave again; I am too old for another exile journey.  But today, after a day of symbolism, and a final happy episode, I feel immense gratitude by having earned a piece of land in the north, with water, a family, and surrounded by good people, “hombres y mujeres de bien.”

Today, I am a positive mind, and this pandemic is just a “shake” to our hearts that show us, humans, how fragile, yet resilient when need to survive. Today, I finally understand my oath to the U.S. American Flag.

VACCINATED!

January 15, 2021 will be a day I will always remember. It is the day that I received my first dose of the Moderna COVID vaccine. I drove up to the Otsego Board of Health Meadows complex near Cooperstown on a misty morning past snow covered fields. Once I got there, things moved smoothly. The staff were kind and efficient. The shot was painless. I would love to be able to say that as I drove back the sun broke through, the mist parted and the world shone in brilliant upstate New York winter sunshine. However, that didn’t happen. It was still a grey morning. The mist dissipated slightly and I arrived back at my office. I spent the rest of the day working albeit with a slightly sore left arm.

Still – I could not get over the fact that I had finally been vaccinated. As I am scheduled to teach an in-person section of a class in the Spring semester, I was eligible. I am the first in my immediate family to reach this milestone. I still need a second dose. I still need to be careful. However, I have been vaccinated.

Vaccination. It is just a word. However, after what my family, the nation and the world have been through in the last year it seems to mean so much more.

Vaccination. It hints at new possibilities and a return to a more normal way of existence: A life without masks. A life with actual human interactions. A life with travel. A life that includes going out to the movies, sharing meals with my friends at each other’s houses and all the other small human pleasures that make life worth living. A life that is not under constant threat of extinction. A life without so much suffering and death.

I dearly hope that once all my family is vaccinated that we can actually cross the border into Canada and visit with parents, siblings, nephews, nieces, in-laws, and friends whom we have not seen since summer 2019. I dearly hope that once vaccinations ramp up, my college can return to its usual routine of in-person teaching, student activities, visiting speakers etc. I dearly hope that we can put the pandemic year into the rearview mirror and think about living again.

On November 10, 1942 following almost three years of constant setbacks, the British secured their first major military victory over the German Army at the Battle of El Alamein in Egypt. To mark this occasion, Winston Churchill said the following in a speech at the Lord Mayor’s luncheon in London – “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”. The Second World War still had several years to run to its course but at that moment, hope in victory finally appeared.

It is my fondest wish that January 2021 marks the end of the beginning. I finally have hope that victory over COVID can be secured, however long the battle may be.

As COvid-19/semester #2 draws to a close . . .

I cry when I watch the evening news, no matter how hard I try to be stoic. Everyone is dealing with such angst. The leadership is sorely lacking, the climate is fighting back against centuries of human exploitation, and incidents of racial and other kinds of injustice are manifest. No one is passing through this time unscathed.

Yet, every day there is also something to appreciate or even celebrate. Most of my students have stuck with me and are wrapping up a semester of learning they can be truly proud of. I am so proud of them. They have supported me and each other in ways that matter, not just for today, but for all the days to come. Quite a few students are expressing their eagerness for the Spring 2021 semester. They will emerge brighter and better from this. My colleagues from departments all over campus have found ways to support each other. It goes so much further than just doing their jobs.

People across the nation and the world have thought creatively about how we can connect across the borders the Pandemic has built. This semester, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Deborah Blum, visited my class and presented lots of images that didn’t make it into her book, The Poisoner’s Handbook. My students enjoyed the reading and being able to ask the author questions. In other classes we connected with scholars working on fascinating projects that serendipitously fit with our course materials. My partner shared his extensive knowledge of Native American women’s pottery making, and we received special access to a documentary about Haudenosaunee women in our Native American Women’s History course. We connected across the internet in ways that I hope we can modify in positive ways when we get to a post-Pandemic world.

I have had amazing opportunities to expand my own horizons as well. I have been learning the Lenape language online with a Munsee teacher living in Canada with students from around the nation and as far away as Australia. I remotely created a museum exhibit, Zoomed into a colleague’s class at the University of Rhode Island, and presented at institutions in Utah and in several New York State sites. I have been involved with documentaries and panel presentations and programs with lots of interesting people. And I continue to listen in on numerous presentations on fascinating topics–the African American community displaced by the building of Central Park in New York City, pioneer women’s lives during westward expansion, and fighting slavery and racial injustice–generated by experts from across the United States and outside its borders. I have even attended virtual cooking classes and exercise classes!

The human spirit cannot be quenched: we are unstoppable. We do what we have to do and then some. This does not in any way diminish the terrible tragedies so many people are facing right now and for which I cannot stop grieving. But it does assure me we are going to be okay — we are going to get through this and come out the better when it is over.

Pandemic diary by shasha wallis

Shasha Wallis 

Pandemic Diary 

At the beginning of the pandemic, I didn’t take it as seriously as I should’ve. It wasn’t that I walked around without a mask, but I didn’t realize how serious it was. I live in a small town and at the time it didn’t seem like a real enough thing to come and spread in my town, but it did, and we were forced into lockdown like everyone else. At first, I didn’t see anyone except for my parents, but eventually my friends and I got bored, so we started meeting up in a parking lot in the middle of winter to socially distance but still hang out. Eventually we got comfortable enough after a couple months of freezing in the back of our cars to hang out at each other’s houses. My sister gave birth to my first nephew in May and I still haven’t met him and it’s December. This makes me sad because he’s already getting so big and we haven’t even met him, but my sister is taking extra precautions and doesn’t want us to visit yet. The pandemic, however, brought my friend group closer than ever because we only ever saw each other and our families. So, our memories and bonds became stronger than ever and became one of our only social interactions. 

During the summer my friends and I though advised otherwise, mostly pretended the pandemic wasn’t happening. We didn’t go out much, but we had been around each other constantly, so we created our own bubble within our eight-person friend group and spent our last summer before college together. We would go out on my friends’ boat on the lake for hours, until the sun got low and we were burnt from the sun. We were with each other almost every day and didn’t get sick of each other, this was probably because we didn’t have many other choices as for entertainment, but we enjoyed it, nonetheless. We became closer than ever and became so attached that when it was ultimately time for us to leave, most of us cried. The pandemic made us get creative with our hangouts and created a lot of memories for stories for all of us. In some ways, it was a blessing because of how close it brought our friendships. We did however have a few mishaps and almost exposures. 

During the fall, I moved to live on campus. I loved being on campus but the risk of COVID was so big and as everyone knows, spread quickly causing campus to shut down. I left as soon as I could and left most of my dorm decorations and such behind to come back for two weeks later. I packed all the clothes I could and all the essentials and schoolwork because I wasn’t sure how long we’d be gone for. Before that, I loved being on campus, my friends and I had a little friend group that hung out and went to most meals together and even went for dinner in town. I got really close with one of my friends from home and spent most days and nights with her. Adjusting to life on campus wasn’t too hard for me because it just kind of felt like sophisticated summer camp with masks. I enjoyed the independence and freedom of being able to go wherever I wanted without having to tell anyone else. I miss campus and I wish we had gotten to spend more than 12 days there because it was just starting to feel like home. 

I think most people my age would say they’re angry or upset with the way COVID has taken away some events in our lives, but honestly, I’m a little thankful. My graduation still got to happen, and I didn’t have to waste as much time sitting through the ceremony. instead, I had a designated time to show up to walk the stage which made it much easier and quicker to finish the ceremony and get my diploma. I am a little upset I didn’t get to play my senior season as captain of my rugby team, but I’m sure there will be other opportunities to make up for the lost time and season. I don’t really mind wearing masks and honestly, it’s the least we can do to protect everyone else from ourselves, but a lot of people seem to have a problem with it. I think a lot of people forget that this isn’t the end of the world and there have been pandemics that society has survived before and continued afterwards. I believe people should take this time, if they haven’t already to reflect on what they want and how they treat others going forward. Isolation is the perfect place for reevaluation and realignment within oneself. 

Personally, for me the pandemic has been a gift. I had a rough year going on before that, I was dealing with the repercussions of my parents’ separation, the betrayal of a close friend, and the death of my childhood best friend. Before that I wasn’t coping well and lack of sleep from school was not helping me heal any faster. Instead, I’d be overtired and unmotivated, falling asleep in class, and when I got home, I would feel alone and unresolved from all the change happening in my life. So, when the pandemic happened, I was finally able to rest and catch up on months’ worth of sleep. Once I recovered from over exhaustion, I could finally see the problem’s I was facing instead of ignoring them. In my isolation I realized a lot of self-worth and did a lot of much needed healing and reconciliation with myself and those I’d pushed away or unintentionally hurt. So, while the pandemic did take many things away, it made me a better person and I think that’s more important than anything temporary like senior year or anything that us freshmen missed out on. 

Pandemic diary

My last day of high school was Friday the 13th, and I didn’t even go. I can’t even lie and tell you that I had every intention to attend because that would be a lie. My friends and I took the day to visit colleges. I wish we hadn’t done that.

I got an email later that same day that the school was closing for about a week. Most people were sure we’d simply have an extended spring break and be back soon. Well that was a lie. Every 2 weeks since that day we would receive another email. Each email said the same thing. “Xaverian High School will remain closed indefinitely, we will be giving updates in another 2 weeks”. Eventually the school year ran out of weeks and the last email was sent. 

If I had known what I know now I would’ve gone to school that day. I would’ve eaten my favorite lunch in my favorite seat by the window with my closest friends. I would’ve stopped to watch the students in the halls. I would’ve raised my hand more in pre-calc. I would have paid more attention in philosophy. I would’ve done so much more.

As the weeks of quarantine started, I was completely stunned. Online school was difficult and having to stay at home was really affecting me. Doing virtual learning was hard and not being able to be in class was upsetting. Not being able to see my friends and family was way worse. Being deprived of doing the things I normally do everyday was ruining me. It’s true what they say. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.  All of these factors were affecting me emotionally and physically. When word got out that we would be in quarantine for months, I was appalled. I couldn’t take being home anymore. Being incapable of social interaction with people other than my immediate family made me angry. Waking up every morning and doing the same thing everyday was dreadful. I felt like I was reliving the same day over and over again. It was difficult to adapt to this new lifestyle but I knew I had no choice over the matter.

For the next few months it felt like the only channel that existed on TV was the news. COVID this and COVID that. As the cases and death toll rose so did any feelings of hope that this would end soon. Everyday more people were dying. Medical professionals were doing all they could but sometimes it just wasn’t enough. I remember the day I heard that hospitals were running out of supplies, and funeral parlors were running out of space. I remember sitting in the front seat of my car as my mom drove and seeing mortuary coolers on more than one street. There was no room for these bodies. There were no funerals allowed. There would be no real goodbyes with full crowds of people embracing and comforting each other. When we needed love the most we were left with only distance and isolation. 

  Being informed about how people were losing their jobs and couldn’t pay for their necessities was terrifying. The fact that people couldn’t go anywhere and if they did, they had to wear face masks and social distance was life changing. The world was in a state of turmoil and I couldn’t believe that everything was changing and how good we once had it. It’s hard to believe that we were all once living a normal life just a few months ago. It doesn’t feel real. This was the new normal and I hated it.

As cases slowly stopped progressing at high rates, the city started to open up again in stages. Things were nowhere near to going back to what they used to be. However, it was a change towards something positive out of this whole situation. Now that some things were open again, for people to have access to any stores and things like that, you had to wear face masks and social distance. Although this is not exactly what he had hoped for, there was a chance that things were looking a little bit better. Now I was able to go out and see my friends and I couldn’t be happier. I had gone almost three months without seeing them and honestly I don’t know how I did it. Afterall it was summer time, and I was ready to do what normal teenagers do in normal times. Even though I was seeing my friends and family again, the summer of 2020 was not what I had hoped. There were so many restrictions and we couldn’t go anywhere without wearing face masks and social distancing. The summer of 2020 was supposed to be amazing, especially since it was the last summer together before college. Although we were trying to make the best of it, things just weren’t the same but at least we could be together again.

Now that summer was coming to an end and the next chapter of my life was starting college, I was thrilled. However, I knew that things weren’t going to be the same in college due to the pandemic. As some of my friends were receiving notice from their colleges that they were opening for the fall and were going to have in person classes, I received the notice that all of my classes were going to be online. Despite the fact that my school was open for students to move in, the restrictions were simply too strict and it did not make sense to move in financially if I had no in person classes. So, for the fall semester, I decided to stay home. This made me extremely upset because I had dreamed of going away to college and living my best life there, I couldn’t wait. Hearing that all my friends were moving in and could have in person classes made me upset because I couldn’t have that same opportunity. It wasn’t fair. Starting college for the first time online was extremely stressful and completely not what I had expected. Classes were difficult and I was not surprised, but it was even more difficult because it was virtual learning. All I wanted was to be on campus and to have that college experience, but unfortunately these circumstances didn’t allow me to. COVID took that away from me. I wanted the opportunity to meet new people, to get to know my teachers and classmates, to live away from home and to have my own experience but I was nowhere near this. Being at home was so difficult because I was so used to waking up early in the morning and attending school, now I was home all the time. My life definitely got more boring and less social for the most part and that killed me. Although I had some friends that stayed at home, my main friend group including my twin sister moved away so it was really hard for me to adjust to that. After hearing that some students moved into Oneonta, I had heard that after two weeks into their move in, they were sent home because there were about 700 cases of COVID-19 in the school. I could not believe that this had happened. However, it made me feel better about my decision to stay home for the fall semester and it made me realize that it was probably one of the best decisions I had ever made. Although, this was not the semester I had wanted, I knew I had to make the best of things at home and accept it because there was nothing I could do about it.

How COVID19 Affected my Life.

Life is lovely, and it has plenty of joy and happiness if everything goes in the right way. However, sometimes, life can be very overwhelming with challenges. I crossed the Atlantic Ocean to move from Guinea to New York, and I left my family, the people I like the most, to fulfill my dream, which is to pursue post-secondary education and live the American dream. My first objective was to finish High school. Two months before my high school graduation COVID 19 arrived and changed everything. 

During the beginning of March 2020, I was still attending school, but in mid-March, I stopped going to school like everyone because the cases of COVID19 were increasing. I stayed at home alone, and everything was closed, even the local restaurants. This hurts me because I live alone, and I used to buy my food from stores and restaurants because I do not know how to cook.  I stayed at home for weeks starving. On March 20th, 2020, I decided to do something to save my life because I could no longer live without being nurtured. So, I  did research and watched a few videos on youtube to learn how to cook. After days of practice, I finally made my dinner, which was an excellent step for me. On April 15th, 2020, the governor of New York announced all classes would be remote. So, from then, I was trying to find a computer to restart, taking online courses, but I could not buy a computer because of my financial situation. My High school counselor landed me a computer to finish my high school senior year. When we restarted the classes, it became challenging because I did not know how to use a computer very well, and also, it was new to me. Even my teachers were a bit disorganized because most of them had never experienced or teach remotely. With time I was able to communicate with my teachers and to do my assignments. 

On May 28th, 2020, I completed all my classes, and I received all credits necessary for my graduation. I was hoping to celebrate my graduation personally with my family, friends, teachers, and those who helped me morally and financially. Unfortunately, COVID19 was still spreading and affecting everything in all aspects of social life. Therefore, the school staff concluded to do our graduation online because of the fear of spreading the virus. When I was informed the graduation would be online, I was very disappointed because I deserved better graduation. 

In sum, we celebrated our graduation online on June 26th, 2020, and it was less enjoyable because I did not have the opportunity to thank my teachers and even do not get to say goodbye to some of my classmates with whom I used to spend most of my time. A few days after our graduation, I realized that the school staff did a remarkable job of doing virtual graduation because everyone might get the virus, and this could lead us to lose our lives. Through this experience, I learned, my health is more important than anything else because millions of people got infected, and many dies because of the virus COVID19. 

Pandemic Diary

Since the very start of Covid I have seen all the people around me change. Some took the time during quarantine to improve while others let it destroy them. I however experienced both sides of the spectrum. I have learned a lot about myself with all the time I had on my hands. I learned that there is value in acceptance. It was hard to accept that fact that I wouldn’t be able to have a normal college experience, or a prom, or a regular graduation ceremony. It was all so devastating to me and all I could do was throw myself a pity party. Until I finally accepted the situation the world is in right now. On the other side of the spectrum I did let this get the best of me. Not being able to do the things I love outside really put a dent on my mental health. I lost a lot of ambition and started to forget the things that make me happy. The long nights watching the news struck a fear in me that I’ve never felt before in my life. There was a point in time where I thought there was no light at the end of the tunnel as thousands were dying and with no cure. I am a type 1 Diabetic which makes me even more likely to get ill if I were to get the Corona Virus. I have never seen my mom more concerned for me. It was scary to think that if I were to get this horrid disease that I wouldn’t make it. Now I know that’s a bit morbid so ill talk about some positives. I realized to enjoy the little things now and I cherish life to its full extent. A hug from a friend, a meal with your family, and the simple exchange of please and thank you are all such minuscule things. But they are so important and the simple things are the key to happiness. Things that used to be important to me aren’t anymore like shopping, makeup, and how I’m gonna get my crush to like me back. Materialistic things are not important and nothing is more powerful than strong relationships between family and friends.

My Life Before and Now

Hello reader, my name is Joseph Trombetta. I am in my third year of college at SUNY Oneonta. I became interested in this blog because I feel as though I am ready to share my experience before and after COVID. I have undergone a period of mental growth over the last year and a half. My story starts in fall 2019 and concludes up to the current month of December 2020. I believe my experience translates into the current issues we face with the pandemic, and I hope to leave an impression on you through this writing.

Before I begin my discussion of my student life during quarantine, I must provide some context of my life prior to COVID. In fall 2019, I started my time as a student at SUNY Oneonta after transferring from a private institution. I had worked hard and scored highly in my classes during my first semester at Oneonta. I even attended some club meetings in my spare time and bonded with certain professors. You might conclude I really enjoyed my first semester at Oneonta, and while I cannot say it was unenjoyable, I knew I was not feeling well at the time. Around that time, I had dealt with several recent losses in my family. In fact, my first day in Oneonta occurred after a funeral the day prior. Hence, I was very overwhelmed emotionally to say the least. So, how then did I score highly my first semester? I have since realized, with some outside assistance, that I funneled all the painful energy into my studies and used it to distract myself from emotions. Of course, I try my hardest in my classes for the simple sake of doing well academically, but that semester my studies carried undertones. The intense focus I placed on school made me very critical of myself and I felt as though I could not relax. I would put myself down and question if I had the capacity to understand my subjects, critique that I was not doing well enough even though I was, among a multitude of other negative comments. With that came doubts of my future in terms of finding a career. All this energy was only compounded by my status as a new transfer, and with that the pursuit of friends while balancing studies.

Perhaps the hardest thing that I had to deal with that semester was the feelings of isolation and loneliness. I am reserved to myself for the most part, except when I can feel a special connection with a person. When I started the semester, I was worried if this introversion would hinder me from meeting people, and to an extent it did, though I give myself credit for trying as much as I could. Nevertheless, I struggled to find my niche, and much like with the emotions of loss I had, I focused myself into my studies to distract from the feelings of loneliness. As I had stated, I did make efforts to socialize. One club that I attended during this time was the campus’ NAMI—National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI’s mission is to educate and provide supportive information for mental health related issues. At this time, I feel that it is appropriate to acknowledge that I have struggled with problems that have stemmed from my Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I feel this is a necessary point to add as it may provide context for why I fell into a cycle of self-criticism during my first semester. In brief, OCD has two components, the obsession and the compulsion, or action done for relief. Therefore, the obsession in the situation of my first semester was my academics and the compulsions—relief measures—included tasks such as checking my grades frequently. NAMI proved to be a beneficial outlet in helping me cope with problems such as these during this time. However, I continued to struggle mentally, though my path toward mental liberation was just beginning.   

As spring 2020 began, I was feeling somewhat better, though there was area for improvement. This semester was the beginning of my mental growth. Over the course of the semester I received various treatments, which helped me comprehend why I was self-critical and how to alter my thought process. I likewise started to realize at this time how emotional pain such as familial loss can contribute to the mindset I had in the fall. I was able to feel less introverted and started to make friends through organizations such as NAMI as a member of the E-Board. I also joined the Oneonta State Emergency Squad (OSES) as a probationary student. I was taking a lot more initiative to feel better. I especially learned the importance of balancing school and social activity that semester, and I am continuing to learn how to do so. I started off well in all my classes, though as the semester progressed, I struggled in one of them. Nevertheless, things began to set in to place and I felt more connected to the campus community. I was beginning to feel well about myself. I engaged in old hobbies, such as model building, that I had once given up. However, as we all know, this was the semester when learning transitioned to online and campus extracurriculars ended. While there is never a good time for a pandemic, I thought the timing was very poor in terms of the progress I was making. After some self-reflection, I did not let the transition to online get me down, though like most I was initially disgruntled with the change. Despite this hinderance, I finished out the semester as best I could on the new platform.

Fall 2020, the semester that could have been. After a summer of quarantine, like most I was looking forward to the starting of a new semester. Unfortunately, plans for the semester did not unfold as expected. However, I still progressed this semester in terms of learning about myself and the people around me. I stayed in an off-campus apartment complex during the duration of classes. I felt if I could not be on campus, I could at least be near the campus to feel as though I was at college. I brought my hobbies with me; my bike, my games, and I even had a little modelling station. As classes moved online, so too did my club NAMI. I am pleased to say I was elected vice president, and more importantly, that we maintained a healthy membership over the course of the semester. Some events NAMI was associated with over the semester concerned mental health discussions and panels. I felt as though I was ready to share my experience with others, and I contributed my perspective to two or three events. OSES also continued their probationary class and I am slated to run shifts for spring 2021. I am looking forward to this especially as I can bring my knowledge in to the field and help fellow students. COVID has exponentially increased an already existing mental health crisis amongst my generation. We must help each other if we want to curtail this issue let alone make it through the pandemic. Sometimes, all someone needs is a person to talk to them, to listen to them, and to empathize with them. I made several good friends in my apartment building over the course of the semester. They have been beneficial to my development and I would likewise say I have been to theirs. I am grateful that despite the eventful start to the fall 2020 semester, I have progressed mentally with the help of my newfound friends and of course, my family.

We can all be our own worst enemy. Self-criticism is an act of sabotage against oneself. To an extent, it can be useful in developing yourself as a person, and I still engage in it. However, certain things are out of your control. During fall of 2019 I criticized myself for quandaries that I had no real control over. In large part, this issue occurred because my OCD was running faster than I could keep up with it. Once I received help, and after some introspection, I began to catch up, and then surpass my mental dilemmas. I am by no means perfect, but I try my best, and I am not hard on myself as much as I was then. I ask you to likewise affirm your humanity and do not put yourself down. This pandemic has tested all of us. I acknowledge how this situation has been much more difficult for others, and as you read this perhaps it has been for you. People have lost loved ones, lost jobs, lost what has brought them joy. To that end I extend my sympathy. I want to say that we could easily fall into a trap of self-criticism because of these circumstances and due to the repetitious days of quarantine. At the end of the day, we can only try our best, whether that be in class or in life, and that is all that matters. In that vein, no one determines what your best is except you.

The idea of loneliness is especially prevalent now because of the pandemic. To be honest, this topic is difficult for me to address, but to reiterate the theme of the previous paragraph, I will try my best. The mind requires social stimulation. Even the most introverted of introverts require someone to speak to every now and again. You possibly were very extroverted before the pandemic, and the lack of social outlet has perhaps hit you hard especially. I can only offer advice based on my experience. I fulfill my alone time with hobbies, such as model building. There are numerous hobbies one can engage in, if funds are an issue then watching videos on the hobby is an option. Sometimes I find myself watching my hobbies more than doing them. Other times, I like to read articles that pique my interest as I am always eager to learn something new, however inconsequential. As for social engagement, I talk with who I can when I can. Part of being a transfer student is not really knowing anyone. I used to be worried about reaching out to people because of this issue, however I have since realized this is no longer a problem and is more a benefit. Every person I talk to and meet is a fresh perspective in my life, and whether that perspective is positive or negative, it adds to my overall world view. Hence, I no longer doubt if I should reach out to acquaintances I have met in my travels or talk to new people that come my way. I believe now we all just want someone to talk to; the subjects of discussion are only secondary to the fortune of speaking with another person. I find a sort of irony in realizing the value of social engagement at a time when it is most difficult to obtain. Nevertheless, I do not let this deter me. We all have a way of maintaining relationships with those we can no longer see in person. For me, video chats have been a way to maintain a level of social activity. Text messaging is of course another possibility. However, I believe sending text messages can only go so far. Text messages lack the facets of human social engagement. You cannot see the person and they cannot see you. There is no indication of emotion or attachment to the conversation over text, unless directly noted from one person to another. Therefore, I would encourage you to engage in video chats to maintain contact with people. While not the same as an in-person conversation, it is the next best option. We are fortunate to have such technology at our fingertips, utilize it. 

So, my reader, that summarizes the trials and tribulations of the last year and a half of my life. I started my time at Oneonta overwhelmed with a flurry of emotion. I was not sure what I should do so I intensified my study efforts. After this action failed to resolve the issues that stemmed from my OCD, I sought help and have now become less self-critical of myself. Now that I have learned to let myself live; I have become less isolated. COVID has complicated my situation, but I remain hopeful and I try the best I can every day. Some days, my best varies, though I am not harsh on myself when that variation occurs. I thank you for taking the time to read my narrative and I wish you strength in these turbulent times.

A semester during covid

Day 1:

Life during COVID has been very hard. Being quarantined had me seriously lacking and craving any sort of human contact when we were holed up in our houses from March until July. We even had all of our groceries delivered to our house. My job was closed from March until September. My family definitely took it more seriously than all of my friends. While my whole family was quarantining for all those months I saw my friends going out and hanging out with people, which I did not find smart but I was a little jealous. Obviously, we all stayed inside for the greater cause and doing our part for society. Unfortunately a lot of people did not seem to care and I would see people without masks on after we finally dared to venture outside.

Day 2:

A lot of people think that Cuomo is a terrible person because he is taking this global pandemic seriously and making people wear masks. I do not understand what the big deal is: the masks aren’t really an inconvenience to me whatsoever. Why do people keep saying that it is violating their human rights? I really wish that the election did not make the pandemic a political issue because quite frankly that does not make any sense, it should be a personal health issue and people should just follow the protocols so everyone can stop complaining and life can go back to semi-normal at a much quicker pace.

Day 3:

In August I left my home in order to move into my house in Oneonta for the semester, it is going to be a very different semester and I don’t really know what to expect. I have never taken online classes before so those should prove to be a challenge to me and I know there will not be any parties at my house since I don’t want to be that house that causes an outbreak. However, someone else decided to take that initiative and all of the campus students were sent home but I think that they should not have been allowed on campus anyway since we are in the midst of a global pandemic. The school did not handle the move-in procedure well at all, no precautions were required for the students to move onto campus which was not the most intelligent move by them.

Day 4:

My housemates and I decided to make an agreement with one other house that we were only allowed to see each other so that we could still have that social interaction that was outside of our immediate household. This plan worked out really well since none of us ever contracted the virus and we were still able to see people; I wish other people thought of this rather than having an explosion of cases in the town. The cops really cracked down this semester, one night the four of us were sitting on our front porch just playing cards and an officer pulled up to our house ad told us that they received a “noise complaint” but we were pretty sure he just saw that we had colored lights on and assumed that there was a party going on. No harm done though; he was just doing his job which was fine.

Day 5:

The four of us got tested at UrgentCare and we all tested negative of course since we were being so careful, which I was very thankful for. The school also started offering free testing for students which I took full advantage of. I started getting tested once a week to make sure that I was always healthy since I knew that I would not be able to go home unless I was completely sure that I was negative for COVID. I am really glad the school offered these tests to us, I just wish that they would have been more careful at the beginning rather than after learning what happens when you put a few thousand kids in dorms together that haven’t been outside in months the hard way. Classes have been challenging for me this semester, it makes things especially harder when professors do not respond to my emails after I follow up with them three times since there are not many other ways to contact them during this time. While I understand that they are getting swamped with emails from students and the board, if I ask you in class if you saw my email and you saw “yes” after a week of no response it hurts a little to know that you just did not want to answer my questions and help me to succeed in your class.

Day 6:

I finally came home after spending August-November in Oneonta for Thanksgiving. I got tested every week for the six weeks leading up to break to make sure that I was always healthy. I was negative every time which I’m grateful for, but not really surprised. However, a few days after coming home my sister tested positive for COVID. She either got it from her boss or from her boyfriend; we still are not entirely sure. Just my luck to be so careful for months in the coronavirus central in New York state for months just to come home and get it before the holiday. Thankfully, my father never got it since we had not been to his house since my sister’s exposure so he was able to drop off any supplies that we needed. We were very lucky because my brother and my sister never actually showed any symptoms, but my mom and I did. I actually had it the worst out of everyone in my family oddly enough, I felt absolutely terrible for about five days but then it just went away, it was a very weird virus to contract it did not last a terribly long time but it hit hard.

Day 7:

Everyone in my family successfully recovered from COVID, I am very thankful for that. I am glad that we did not add to the number of deaths in the country, we were very lucky. This semester has been one that I will never forget, it was easily the most challenging one that I have ever experienced in my 7 semesters as a college student. I learned a lot about the people close to me and where they stood on certain aspects of life, like public safety and awareness, as some just did not care and thought their rights were being restricted for some reason. The main thing I learned is that people only care about other people in the beginning of a global crisis. Once a month or two passes a lot of people just stop caring and do whatever they feel like for their own selfishness. It was quite eye opening and I hope that the vaccine is a success for the world so we can start returning to our lives at least in some respects.

my covid Year

It was a cold morning in early March of 2020. I do not normally listen to the news on the radio, but I was beginning to become concerned about this virus that seemed to be spreading worldwide, the newscaster called this virus Covid-19. As I continued to listen on my way to campus, the reality of this situation began to sink in. I thought “This is going to become a serious problem”. What I did not know then was how serious a problem it would become. As I pulled into the SUNY Oneonta commuter parking lot, just in time for my 11:30 AM history of Soviet Russia class, I shut the car off. I did not realize this would be the last time I would be on campus to attend classes.

            As my day progressed, other students and I began talking about all of the sports leagues that were just put on “pause” because of the growing concern over the virus. As we spoke about the cancellations someone brought up the question if we would be able to come back to campus after spring break. I immediately said, “Of course we will come back”. I never dreamed that this would become a global pandemic that has affected everyone’s life in some way. At the time I simply thought that medical professionals would come up with some type of treatment before it got that bad. Boy was I wrong on so many levels.

            On my way home from campus the final day before spring break, I again listened to the news on the radio. The newscaster had a guest on her show, the guest was a professor of Infectious Diseases at some Ivy League University. The doctor was telling of the precautions people could take to limit their risk of catching Covid-19. He spoke about masks and handwashing. I thought to myself, handwashing should always be a top priority, but there is no way anybody going to wear a mask in public. Once again, I could not have been more wrong. I think that like many other people I did not want to face the reality of this pandemic, so I just minimalized it and hoped it would just go away. If you would have told me nine months later I would be sitting in my living room writing this blog, still in the middle of a pandemic I would have said you are lying or simply wrong.

            Over the next week the slow drip of cancellations and postponements became a tidal wave. First it was the NCAA Basketball tournaments, then professional basketball and baseball. The Olympics and tennis tournaments were cancelled next. Finally these cancellations hit home as my daughters’ school was going to be closed for two weeks. After that they would be attending virtually from home. I remember saying to my wife “How did we get here?”. Is no one who is in charge of anything in this Country or World capable of stopping this? The sad answer to my question was, of course, no. The next couple of days brought no good news on this front. Businesses would have to shut down, people were going to be out of work, making them vulnerable to food and shelter insecurities. It was becoming clearer that this was going to last a while, and people were going to suffer, and in many cases even die. As the days went on finally, we got the word that the college as well as all other SUNY schools, were going to be closed for the rest of the semester, and we would shift to an entirely online model of education.

            The college cancellation came as a surprise to me, even though it should not have. Quickly the school shifted to online classes only. This was a bit of an adjustment for me. I do not do well with online classes. I would much rather be in a classroom, but sadly this was no longer an option. The slow trickle of news from the school was maddening. I do realize that the college was just trying to keep everyone informed, and that there is no precedent for our current situation. But that being said, the emails that something else on campus was cancelled or postponed that came daily the first month of the lockdown was depressing. I feel one email with all of the cancellations and postponements would have been better. I am not trying to fault anyone, this is just my opinion.

            The shift to online learning went much better than I expected. All of my professors were able to adjust their method of teaching and implement the new system. This must have been a monumental task, but they all did it like professionals. The hardest part for me with online classes is simply staying on schedule. I do much better with a rigid schedule that does not allow me the opportunity to procrastinate. With the help of all of my professors, all of which were extremely understanding of any difficulties I had. I was able to overcome my character flaws and have a successful semester. The worst part of online classes became the isolation. I enjoy being on campus and around people, I love the back-and-forth discussions that are so hard to duplicate with a class that is conducted over Microsoft Teams or Blackboard. But once again, my professors would not stop at anything to replicate this as best they could, given the current circumstances.

            As the spring semester drew to a close, I thought that things were starting to look up and we would be back on campus in the fall. This gave me hope that things would soon go back to some type of normalcy. I ended up taking a summer course because I discovered that online courses were not that bad, and I should not be afraid to utilize them. This went well too, again the professor was incredible, and I feel that I got every bit the education that I would have received in a classroom setting. In fact, the class I took was the history of New York City and it was one of my favorite classes to date at Oneonta. The class started with the Dutch settling the city and ended with modern times. I would highly recommend this course to anyone who has a love for history. My summer was actually pretty good considering the current situation. I am sort of a homebody, so I do not go many places anyway, so the restrictions did not have much of an effect on my day-to-day life, other than financial implications of no longer having a place to work.

            On a personal note, I am a non-traditional student at SUNY Oneonta. I am a bit older than my fellow students and I am married with children. The hardest part of this pandemic for me was always being scared. Scared that my wife or kids would get sick. Scared that I would get sick and end up in the hospital all by myself. The fear was almost constant, and at points was all-consuming. My wife is an emergency room nurse, at a hospital an hour or so outside of New York City, right in the heart of the outbreak. This was extremely stressful for us as a family. My wife lived in fear that she would bring the illness home, as well as being overwhelmed by patients at work. Watching my partner in life and my best friend be burnt out by constant stress and being overworked was difficult. But like always she handled it like a champ and never wavered in her duties as a healthcare professional. As I sit here writing this, we are over nine months into a pandemic that I thought would never happen. But we have hope, there are several vaccines that are set to be distributed soon. We can only hope that they work and we can return to some form of normalcy in the future.

Last 8 AM of the Semester

Today was my last 8 am lab for this semester! I’m so happy that I won’t have to wake up that early anymore, at least for a little while. However, it makes me think about how this pandemic has affected my education. Remote learning is definitely not the same experience as in person learning. I’d say that there are pros and cons to it though. For example, I can go to class in my pajamas and when I had my 8 am I only got up 5 minutes before and turned on my computer. If I was on campus I would have had to actually get ready and walk to class. Also, a lot of tests are open book now which is great for the time being. However, I’m probably not retaining as much information as I would be if I was learning in person. I also feel like some of my professors sort of gave up with online teaching because they can’t do it as effectively. Even though online learning comes with its positives, I’d give it up to be in person and receive a quality education. Hopefully next fall will allow me to do that.

Last week of Class

Today is the day before the last week of classes. I wish more than anything that I could return to campus next semester but the way the college has handled this virus, I just don’t see it happening. It’s really unfortunate because the college is going to lose huge amounts of money for restricting the capacity of people on campus when all the other SUNY schools were able to achieve a semester without a shut down. All SUNY schools deserve to be treated the same but that is not what’s happening. This virus has made me realize one thing: life is not fair at all. 

Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving and not going to lie – it’s super depressing. I live with my mom and grandparents and they all have weakened immunity so we had to stay home. Usually we go to my uncles but he didn’t want to risk anything so we stayed home and I helped my grandma cook. However, there’s a lot I’m thankful for today. Everyone in my family is healthy so far and has not been horribly affected by COVID, besides me. I still haven’t got my taste and smell back completely but it is slowly improving. Another weird thing about today is the annual parade in the city was cancelled. So many things just aren’t the same anymore and it’s hard to see an ending to this virus as it’s starting to get worse again. Also, I’m stuck home next semester again which has really affected me. I just wish this could all be over soon. 

a break from the virus

As if the year 2020 was not already historically significant enough, there is more! This time, it is a positive contribution to history, though, rather than a worldwide pandemic. The first female vice president, Kamala Harris, has been elected with president elect Joe Biden! It is so amazing to finally see a woman in such a position of power in government, no matter what political side you are on. I think that this shows young girls that they can accomplish their dreams. It is important to finally see someone like them in a position of power, rather than the same older men in office all the time. There has been much division in America recently when it comes to political views, and I am really hoping that people will become more united now with this new presidency. I think moderation is what we need, and with Joe Biden being a moderate Democrat, maybe there will be some unity between the two parties. I am a firm believer that the two extremes will never reach any common ground, but with moderation on both sides, there can be some issues that they can agree on and reach compromises, creating a political climate that is more accepting with less hatred. Everyone has the right to their own opinion, and they should never feel like they cannot freely express it to others.

A dark winter ahead

 The rise in coronavirus cases across the country is concerning, and with the holidays coming up, I do not expect the rate of infection to slow down. People want to gather and celebrate with their friends and family, which is understandable, after being cooped up for so long. It is worrisome though, as the virus is so contagious, and the weather is getting colder, so outside activities are becoming limited. More people are gathering in spaces that do not have the greatest ventilation. I have remained coronavirus free so far, but that is not the case for many of the people that I know and for many people not only in the United States, but around the world. Europe is seeing a second wave of the virus and is issuing lockdowns. I am afraid the U.S. will be the next to lock down since the cases are growing so fast. The plan for the spring semester is supposed to come out soon, and I am interested to see how this will play out. It is hard to predict what will happen by the spring. There is talk of a vaccine getting approved that is over 90% effective, which is great news, but I am not sure when it will be readily available for the public, as the frontline workers will be the first to receive it. I hope it is ready sooner rather than later, as this is the only way we can return to normalcy and live our lives the way we did before this pandemic.

DoomScrolling

Doomscrolling

The act of consuming an endless procession of negative online news.

I’m told in the original mass observation project, someone recorded the barometric pressure and weather everyday. I don’t check the weather anymore, it is so rare that I leave the house. But what I have checked everyday is the New York Times tracker of new cases. Everyday, ten times a day, it has become an obsession.

Currently, we are planning how to bring students safely back to campus in February. For two consecutive semesters, we have emptied campus and sent all of our students home. It is hard to imagine how returning to campus will be possible when you compare what the national picture looked like when we sent students home in the Spring or Fall semesters when we sent students home in the fall.

Today I went to Panera to pick up takeout orders. The mall parking lot was full, and people were going about their everyday lives. Although the infection today is at a similar level to March, the attitudes of everyone around is so different. There are masks hanging from rear view mirrors, hand sanitizer in the cup rests, but we go out when we need to now. We’ve become accustomed to a certain level of danger.

writing out my frustrations and fears, I guess

I have never been more frustrated in my life. This Semester is really doing a huge number on me. AND I’M ONLY TAKING 2 CLASSES. It’s not just school that’s frustrating me; it’s really everything on top of my classes: Work, home life. I thought I didn’t really have a social life before the virus, but now it really is non-existent. It doesn’t help that I’m so depressed almost all of the time, and because of life, I have no actual freedom of my own. I can’t go anywhere really anyway because of virus restrictions, I have no access to a car, so I can’t drive myself anywhere, which really restricts me from just leaving my neighborhood, let alone leave my house.

I’m really struggling in one of my classes because it’s hard, but it shouldn’t be, but it is. Like just one aspect of it really makes it all more frustrating and confusing, and I need it to actually graduate this semester, and I just want to be done with college so badly even if it ends in this really awful situation where I don’t get an in-person graduation, and I haven’t seen my friends in months. The last time I saw some of my friends from college other than my roommate who lives close to me before the virus was literally on my birthday when I left for spring break. Then spring break turned into quarantine lockdown and now I’m permanently home, and I will most likely not ever see or hang out with the majority of my friends ever again.

And now I feel like even if I do graduate, which God hopefully I will this time, I don’t think I’ll actually feel like I actually accomplished anything. I always try to stay optimistic and positive about things, I just really want everything in my life and families life to just get better so we can move on from all the hardships and difficulties this nightmare year from hell has put us through.

Sorry, this got kind of depressing. Obviously, I’m going through a lot, and I just wanted to write everything I was feeling and put it out there. But I’m all good and I’m going to get through all of this. And honestly writing everything I was feeling (then editing and spell checking) helped a lot 🙂

Three little words

Three Little Words

When I was a little girl, I endlessly dreamed about being The Queen. I didn’t care about the jewels or the dresses or the fancy carriages. My desire stemmed from something more basic: if I was The Queen, I would have all the power! (It is quite possible I added some evil laughter at this juncture as well.)  I could make my subjects – my parents and sibling – obey me and they would be punished for their transgressions! This is a pretty enticing thought when you are 7 years old, enjoying those beautiful summer evenings, and your parents make you go to bed even though it is still light outside! Truly, a criminal act if there ever was one.  Or your brother eats what was undeniably YOUR cookie – unbelievable!  I had read enough fairy tales to know that I, as The Queen, could put them in a tower for their crimes forever!  They would be stuck there, in their high tower room, while I ate cookies late into the summer evenings and played with my friends. It seemed so satisfying.

Fast forward, then, many years later, to a day in my high school history class. We were talking about the preamble of the Constitution and its first words, “We the People.” My teacher  then said, in an off-hand way, “You can see this idea even today, when the President addresses the country at the State of the Union speech and he says,  ‘my fellow Americans’ .”   For reasons which are unclear me even now, these words really struck a chord with me.  “My fellow Americans? My fellow Americans? Wait… no Queen with her Queenly powers?”  The axis of my thinking shifted. I started seeing America differently and my place in it differently as well. 

It wasn’t long before I started seeing America as a place where we really were “in this thing together,” a real “res publica.”  Americans were helping Americans everywhere and all the time! I read about the National Guard being sent to help save midwestern farmland by piling up sandbags on the banks of the flooding Mississippi! I saw the American military use its helicopters to save people from rising waters in a hurricane! I watched as ordinary Americans did acts of kindness in their communities everyday: people finding lost pets and tracking down the owner, people volunteering to drive hot food to senior citizens with Meals on Wheels, parents cleaning up a baseball field in early spring so the Little League girls and boys would have a place to play, people planting trees and flowers to beautify their neighborhood. My fellow Americans!

And then there were the larger news stories too: America sends soldiers abroad to help find people buried in rubble after an earthquake! America sends food aid and medical supplies overseas to help people recovering from a hurricane! There were fun stories too: the mayors of New York and Chicago betting their own city’s pizza styles in a friendly gamble on sports teams, the phrase “Beat Navy!” said at any West Point Band concert, or even the great regional debate: are they “hoagies”, “subs”, or “foot-longs”?   My fellow Americans! 

Those three words, “my fellow Americans,” became my favorite words. I loved hearing them at the beginning of the State of the Union speech.  “I am part of this union and the President is in this too, no different from me.” I was really proud to say those words, to see them in action, to be a part of this larger community of people who, although different in almost every way imaginable, were all linked together as my fellow Americans. I knew it wasn’t perfect. I knew there were gaps, sometimes enormous ones, in the understanding of who, exactly, “my fellow Americans” were, but I also thought that this over-arching concept of togetherness, of people united in a common purpose, would help guide the way and see us through the rough patches into a better future.

My faith in these words has been badly shaken of late.  The union I see now is no union at all. Americans are calling other Americans “the enemy.”Americans are killing other Americans over skin color (have we learned nothing from the 1960s?). Americans are speaking rudely and crudely to each other (would your mother be pleased at your lack of respect?)My fellowAmericans?

And it got worse. I saw Americans endangering the lives of other Americans by refusing to wear masks, Americans acting selfishly and hoarding food, medical supplies, and paper goods. I watched Americans grabbing food out of the hands of other Americans at grocery stores, Americans berating cashiers (also Americans) for not bending the rules to let them buy more than their fair share of a limited good. My fellow Americans? I read about Americans buying up hand sanitizer at dollar stores hoping to sell it to other Americans at 35 dollars for a 4-ounce bottle. I was stunned to see Americans flouting their wealth on social media while other Americans wait in food lines. I heard about some Americans getting great health care while other Americans have none. My fellow Americans?

This pandemic has not brought out the best in the US or the best in us. To be fair, there are sparks from my old “fellows” – nurses who travel to a different state to help out, health care workers who work 16 hours a day right in their own hospitals, people delivering food to the housebound, neighbors calling neighbors just to check in. But they are small sparks flying from a larger, scarier fire. I miss a lot of things in this time of sheltering down: seeing my family and friends, being able to be with students in a room all together, planning for the holidays. But the thing I miss the most is the feeling of the “us” in the US.  I miss our union, in all its fragility and in all its imperfections.  I want my three little words back: my fellow Americans.

deserted

Being POsitive

Today was a good yet simple day. I am only trying to write in this “diary” on good days because I don’t want to be too negative. One of the best positives of being home for me is being able to see my half sister. She is only one right now and every time I see her, because she doesn’t live with me, she looks different. I was worried that she would forget about me when I went to college but I was only there for two weeks so she didn’t. Even though it was only two weeks away she was the one I missed the most. Now that I’m back I’ve been able to play with her and see her, after I was cleared of COVID of course. She even says my name now. This is one of the only reasons I’m happy to be home because lately it has been so hard for me to concentrate in school. Sitting at a computer all day just doesn’t motivate me. Most days I feel tired and have a headache by the end of my lectures. I’m just hoping that Oneonta will come up with a good plan for next semester because every other SUNY school has managed to be okay so far except for us so obviously it is possible to have on campus classes. 

Fire and Ice

In Rochester, NY a Zamboni caught on fire. Someone aptly pointed out that it was a nice metaphor for 2020, an ice machine that is burning. One of my friends was there for their kids’ ice hockey practice, and they said the driver stayed in the driver’s seat and drove the thing back to the bay where they were able to put out the fire.

Dude literally drove a Zamboni on fire to safety. I think it’s a feeling that everyone has right now. Working with instructors at my college, I just hear so much about complaints and how people aren’t doing enough. Everyone is pointing fingers. Students aren’t doing enough work, faculty aren’t doing enough to engage with students… Meanwhile, every single person feels like that Zamboni driver trying to survive this year.

We all need to cut each other a little slack- students, faculty and administration.

September Diary Entries

Ashley Cruz

Diary Entry 1

For me, the coronavirus greatly affected my college experience because the outbreak happened during my first semester on campus. At first, I underestimated the danger and potential, jokingly comparing it to the bubonic plague, but not really thinking it would spread out of control. I even already had plans set to go to a party after spring break ended, but unfortunately, campus closed over the course of spring break. Once the virus broke out in the US, it reached such an effect that entire spaces in New York City were deserted, which was baffling to me, as I never imagined such places could ever be empty. Even places like Times Square were empty, which really drew attention to the severity of the outbreak. During the outbreak, I also happened to be in the process of moving houses which caused lots of stress for my mom and I,  as we had to move out of my old house by a certain date and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find a new house to move into in time due to the virus still putting everyone into an initial panic state. Additionally, everything was shutting down and in the city there was a curfew and we weren’t supposed to leave the house except to buy necessities which put more pressure on my mom and I to move quickly. As everything in New York shut down, so too did the state borders for a time, which affected me because the person who was supposed to drive me to campus to collect my things after the campus closed was across state borders and I wasn’t able to get my things until May, a whole two months later.

Diary Entry 2

            Before the campus closed, classes were originally delayed. I had bought a bus ticket back to Oneonta and rescheduled it to accommodate for the delay, but shortly afterwards the campus and many city services closed, and I was unable to then get a refund for my now useless ticket. During the pandemic, online classes were a stressful and difficult transition. As a result of my things being stuck on campus since I couldn’t get a ride back, I didn’t have a computer and had to resort to buying a new one in order to do online classes at all. In terms of day to day living in the city, businesses had limited occupancy and long lines at best and at worst were completely shut down (which happened to many). Among the shut down businesses were malls, where I did lots of shopping normally but couldn’t go to until state borders reopened which allowed me to go into New Jersey malls since the ones in New York City were still closed. In addition to daily life disruption, many people lost their lives. Some people I knew passed away too, unfortunately, including my mom’s boss, the lady who my mom took dry cleaning to, my uncle’s best friend, and even a lady who baked a cake for me in daycare and her husband died. In the city, crime rate also increased during the pandemic as many people lost their jobs and faced economic hardship.

Diary Entry 3

            Over the summer of the pandemic, things did not go as I had originally planned. I had wanted to do veterinary work to get experience and improve my resume for entering vet school. However, because of the virus, nobody was accepting volunteers and I was stuck doing basically nothing. Most recently, I had applied to volunteer at a local shelter back at Oneonta which I wanted to work at once I returned to campus for the fall. I wound up not working there though, as I felt concerns about the stability of my return to campus. This concern proved to be accurate as shortly after returning to campus, coronavirus cases broke out and the campus sent most of its students home. The remaining students, including myself, were kept in a two week on-campus lockdown. After the two weeks passed and the campus reopened, I didn’t reapply to the shelter, as I still held concerns about the campus maybe not reopening again in the spring and I didn’t want to work at the shelter for only a month or two before quitting on them and not returning. When the campus lockdown was put in place, campus dining halls closed down, which put lots of stress on the staff who suddenly had to figure a way to still feed the remaining students and for the first day there were no vegan or vegetarian options. This meant that I, a vegan, had to order from outside the campus so I would be able to eat that day. The lockdown also affected me because I had a dentist appointment for my braces I needed to go to but I had to reschedule because of the lockdown. Additionally, after the lockdown was lifted, I encountered a second issue since I had to once again return home since my braces broke and while I was home getting them fixed, the campus informed me they were going to move me into a different dorm hall to save on maintenance costs. I was worried that I wouldn’t get back in time to move out, but thankfully I was able to get back in time.

Four days with a friend

Today is one of the happiest days I’ve had since I’ve been home. My mom drove me down to Long Island, from Westchester, and I got to stay with my roommate. I’m staying with her for four days. It’s been so hard for both of us lately because our friends at home aren’t the best and we just really miss school and each other. It’s nice to be with her again because it reminds me of school and how we would do classes in our dorm room. This is such a lonely time for everyone but this visit has helped so much. 

Going Home

I had always been very excited to go to college. Since I can remember I would always watch youtube videos about college so when it was my time to go I was over the moon. I started getting ready to go to college about 2 months in advance because I just could not wait any longer. I was so excited to finally have freedom and be on my own without having anyone to check up on me. Once I got to Oneonta I knew I was going to have the best time. Within the first day I had already met so many amazing people and I was super excited to hang out with them more. We all clicked really fast and it felt like we had all known each other for forever. Everything was going good up until the cases started to rise. At first I wasn’t nervous because this was inevitable, and all of the cases seemed to be from people off campus. Then the number kept on rising and rising and soon enough one of my friends had gotten the virus and decided to go home. After that more and more of my friends decided to go home. I was upset but I knew they had to and I thought that they would be back after they were better.

Then we got shut down by the government. I just remember how shocked everyone was and how fast this was all unfolding, but we tried to make the best of it. After a few days of this we found out we were going to be tested. I was happy that this was happening since it didn’t happen before we got onto campus. Going into the testing center I was upset to say the least. To see everyone crowded in that one hall with no social distancing markers just made me angry and ultimately people could have gotten sick from just standing in that building. Soon enough it was over and I was on our way back to my dorm with the impression I would receive my results in a matter or 2-3 days. That unfortunately did not happen and I ended up getting my results back in 5 days. Luckily I was negative and so was my roommate so we weren’t as worried any more.

After about 10 minutes of receiving my results I got the email that said we were being sent home. I could not believe my eyes and after everything that we have gone through it was over just like that. It felt like the day I found out my high school would be closed for the rest of the year and every emotion I felt then came back now. My roommate and I tried to make the best out of it the final nights we were at Oneonta. We ordered Tinos, hung out with our friends in our dorm, and had a movie night. And just like that it was time to go home. It really does suck being home but my friends and I have already set multiple dates so we can go see each other. I hope we will be back in the spring so we can finish what we have started.

Mi horario en tiempos de pandemia

Siempre, antes y ahora, me despierto a las cuatro de la madrugada.

My Schedule in Pandemic Times

Módulo 3 OER Espaňol 1 y 2 “Chévere”

Tomo seis tazas de café para despertarme.

Saco a caminar el perro.

Trabajo mañanas extendidas.

Mi familia y yo pasamos todo el día en casa.

Estamos cambiando.

Module 3 OER Spanish 1 and 2 “Cool”

My schedule in pandemic times

Always, before, and now, begins at the four-dawn hour.

I drink six cups of coffee to wake up.

I walk the dog.

I work extended mornings.

We are changing. My students have become pretty pictures or two letters on a screen monitor, maybe I should start calling them “Eme – Erre” “”Te – Ele” and they will remember the Spanish alphabet.  One month into a happy first day semester fall 2020. A world burning outside, unbalance inside, surviving and staying sane.

It shall pass, and we’ll understand.

Life keeps happening…mi primer girasol en la vida.

Jaclyn Kennedy ’21 : Covid Experience Journal

Day 1: 9/6/20

“It’s Sunday, September 6th.  I have been trying to be fairly careful under the new COVID-19 rules and regulations.  However, I have not been staying home completely.  Some friends and I went out to dinner last Friday night, September 4th.  Now my group of friends that I was with is concerned we were exposed to the virus when we were out to eat.  Personally, at this moment I think they are being paranoid, and I do not believe we were exposed.  However, they plan to get tested tomorrow.”

Day 2: 9/7/20

“Today, my friends got tested for COVID-19.  To my surprise, 4/8 of them came back positive; this included my roommate.  Now of course I realize they are not paranoid and they were more on track that I had predicted.  However, it’s odd… we were all together and yet only some of the group tested positive for the virus.  Yet, since we were all potentially exposed we must quarantine to make sure symptoms of the virus do not develop later on.

My friends who tested positive also had to share their track of who they had been in contact with.  This means I was now getting calls from contact tracers.  The contact tracers job is to call people who were potentially exposed to hopefully stop the chain of exposure.  Now I have found myself in quarantine… with my infected roommate.

Day 3: 9/8/20

I still have had no symptoms of the virus.  My roommate and I have been extremely careful to wipe down door knobs, clean the bathroom and kitchen (which we share), and mainly stay quarantined in our rooms so she does not infect me.  At this point, I am questioning… How did I not get the virus?  Yet, I am not the only one.  My four other friends who were just as equally exposed did not get it either.  With the virus being so new, I guess no one has answers as to why some are more susceptible than others at this point.

I made myself a nice dinner tonight, did laundry, did homework, and felt fine.  Just as the day crept into the evening, I began to experience muscle aches (a symptom of COVID-19).  I am not totally concerned at this point.  Muscle aches can have a lot of causes including pulling a muscle, or simply even sleeping in a funny position.  The muscle aches were not terrible, and even ignorable at this point.  However, I began to be a bit concerned considering my surroundings and friends experiences around me.”

Day 4: 9/9/20

“Day 4… Wednesday, September 9th.  I slept. And slept… And slept some more.  Something wasn’t right.  I finally pulled myself out of bed for the first time that day at 6:30pm, just to use the bathroom and put some food in my stomach.  By 7:00pm, I was exhausted from that little bit of activity and back in bed for the night.  I had come to the realization at this point, it was time to schedule a COVID-19 test.  My test was scheduled for the following day, but I had a pretty good hunch of how it was going to go.  The craziest part of this virus and the way it affected me personally was how quickly the symptoms crept on me.  Out of nowhere almost!  Just when I thought I was safe.”

Day 5: 9/10/20

“The following day was similar to the day before, I was still very very fatigued.  However, today I had to force myself out of bed in order to get my COVID-19 test.  Sure enough, as expected, the test came back positive.  Now knowing I was positive for COVID-19, my fatigue and muscle ache symptoms made sense.  However, I had already been quarantined since the past Sunday, September 6th, since my roommate and friends were infected, potentially exposing me.  When I got back to my apartment, my roommate and I stopped our isolation towards each other since we were both positive at this point and began congregating in our common area together again.  However, of course we still could not leave our apartment.”

Day 6: 9/11/20

“By this point, I actually woke up feeling a lot better today.  I still had muscle aches, and my headaches were horrible.  However, my extreme fatigue was lessening which made a big difference.  I was still able to keep up with my school work considering it was all online, which was good.  Yet, as expected it just wasn’t the first thing on my mind while being so sick.  I wouldn’t say I fell too behind in my school work because I knew that wasn’t an option for me.  However, I do think my symptoms, especially the migraine made it very hard to focus on a computer all day.  I had felt like I got beat up by this virus.”

Day 7: 9/12/20

“The only positive I would say is that at least my roommate and I had each other.  I was miserable enough in complete quarantine for 14 days, and I wasn’t even alone.  I feel very bad for people who were isolated by themselves.  Once my roommate and I symptoms began to lesson, we still had to properly finish out our quarantine so we did not potentially infect anyone else.  We spent our time in quarantine ordering a lot of delivered food, and spending a lot of time on our couch.  It got BORING, quick.  We watched a lot of movies, caught up on school work, and that’s about it; but at least we had each other.”

Isolating at home

Since I’ve gotten home I have been isolating in my basement because I’m pretty sure I have COVID. This is scary because I live with my grandparents and my mom is prone to getting Pneumonia so I really don’t want to give it to any of them. I got tested at school and it came back negative but I’m sure that’s almost impossible because my roommate and most of my friends tested positive.  So far my symptoms are minor, just achy and feel like I have a minor cold. I haven’t had a fever at all this whole time, which is good and I count myself lucky. However, when I got home I got retested because I knew the school test was wrong: turns out I’m right and I do have COVID. They say I’m through the worst of it which is great and I won’t be contagious for much longer. It’s crazy to see all these people dying from this disease and then when I get it it just feels like a little cold. 

bye, for now

the students are

leaving now.

to homes where they

can never,

ever

concentrate.

homes where

their grandmother died.

they were abused.

they starved.

they punched holes

in the walls

and rattled

the ceiling beams

and the ceiling beams

are still shaking.

college is a chance

to reinvent yourself.

that’s the line

that brought me here.

a pandemic is

a time when

inventions fail.

hordes of automatons

fighting molecules

tinier than

blood cells.

the virus wins.

the virus

always

wins.

Headed Home

Today I came home from college at SUNY Oneonta because of a huge COVID outbreak. I am extremely sad to leave my roommate and the friends I have made so far. I have already been robbed of so much during my senior year in high school and now it seems to have taken my freshman year of college  too. I have been looking forward to this part of my life for so long. It is so hard to see it start to slip away. However, I know everyone is being affected by this virus in some way or another. I can only hope things get better in the near future. One positive is that now that I’m back home I will be able to focus on my academics more. 

Hot Zone

August 30, 2020. August is closing down, which makes it feel as if the summer is closing down, though we still officially have three weeks left till the equinox makes it official. All the late-summer flowers are out: blue cornflower, orange jewel weed, Queen Anne’s lace, and a slew of others I don’t know the names of. Some are already wilting. Today’s cool breeze is enough to signal what’s ahead in the weather. Summer’s closing down. Oh, yeah, and the school is closing down. In the past five days we’ve gone from zero to 105 positive COVID cases, some of which must have first been symptomatic before they were reported. Someone on facebook mapped it on a graph–the sharp upward slope of it looked impressive but it didn’t look good. If only my retirement moved like that!

I expect in the coming weeks some kind of inquiry will draw conclusions about where to lay blame. To be kind, we’ll say many missteps were made, such as the decision not to actually test students before they arrived on campus but to rely on self-reporting, or to not ban Greek rush before the parties started, or what appears to be a major lack of coordination between administration and local government and health officials–seems like much of the discussion is coming after the numbers started to climb. My information comes from conversations on many different platforms. To be kind, let’s say many on campus are not pleased with the current situation.

Today the SUNY Chancellor posed an intervention and ordered what they’re calling a COVID Swat Team to campus to conduct massive testing of students (and I hope staff and faculty, as well). It sounds dramatic, though I don’t think it will entail either Dustin Hoffman and Morgan Freeman in Hazmat suits (though that would be impressive) or Homeland Security pulling students into unmarked vans (that would be terrifying). Still, while no one wanted this outcome, it was easy to see it coming. Why, oh why, we are asking, was this not entirely anticipated?

The light at the end of the Tunnel A Covid-19 experience

Johnathon Shannon 8/22/20

Dear Diary,

Covid-19 has changed my life in many ways and has altered my life and most likely the course of history through changing my impact and everyone else’s impact on the world. I say this because no matter how small, everyone’s actions impact others and the world in some shape and form. Covid-19 has made me change many things about my life and has caused drastic changes in which I had no control over. I am not sure whether I am better off now or before the virus due to these changes, some being positive and some negative. Along with the entire world, in some areas Covid-19 has proved to be a nightmare for me and my family and made many experiences far less than pleasant and in turn has negatively impacted my life and my family’s life. However, in other areas Covid-19 has helped me and my family and has positively impacted me and my family. As a whole though, the impact of Covid-19 on me and my family has been far more negative than positive. In the spring of 2020 I had experienced the loss of friends and my boxing family and this has caused emotional pain which has yet to fully pass. 

The journey through Covid-19 has been emotionally painful for me. Waking up one day to find out that you would never see your friends and teachers again was my reality. The sorrow of realizing that you can never experience a true end to High School is devastating. I will never forget when my entire school switched to online learning and I was provided with a false sense of security that school would resume in April.  Then, in a flash that hope was blown away, only to reveal the ugly truth that it was over, there were no more chances to make up with lost friends, no more chances to fix mistakes, and lastly no more childhood. I had lost the last memorable events that make up being a child and would help me transition to adulthood. College was upon me and there was nothing that could be done. It was a blow right to my soul, one that I have not recovered from yet. Losing those precious moments and that childhood security is something I was not ready for and have not fully accepted though I am working through it. 

On the positive side of this situation, Covid-19 has provided me and my family with positive opportunities and has pushed us to make decisions that would have been difficult to make in normal times but became obvious decisions to us because of the pandemic. The number one thing that the pandemic has driven me and my family to do is to move upstate. Covid-19 didn’t leave us a choice because the city was a breeding ground for the virus, so the obvious decision was to move. Living in a small apartment, me, my brother, and my mother had been wanting to get away from the city for many years but had never been able to due to the many ties we had with the city. Our friends were there, our schools were there, and most importantly my mother’s job was located there. Covid-19 changed these things and caused school to switch to online learning, friendships to be lost, and my mother’s job to no longer provide income. We are thankful for this opportunity because had this not happened we would still be living in the city and still be complacent with our previous lifestyle. Because of the move to upstate New York our habits and routines have changed for the better. I am now able to exercise more frequently and work on losing weight while my brother is able to go on walks with me that he never took while in the city. In addition we now have more room than in our apartment and are much more comfortable in our new house than we ever were in the apartment. Also, I have been able to see my uncle, aunt, and my cousins every day because we now live very close to them, after quarantining for a week that is. 

There are many things that I will miss from the city and will not be able to experience, at least until the virus vaccine is perfected. One thing I loved about Bayside New York was my boxing gym. Going to the boxing gym and helping out my coach and also taking boxing lessons was a crucial part of my life and had provided me with purpose. I had a duty to pass my self defence skills onto others and was able to accomplish this through my coach and his gym. Now that the pandemic has forced my family to move I am unable to do that anymore and in turn have lost the purpose that boxing contributed to my life. This change is not permanent because eventually the pandemic will settle down and life will return to normal and when that happens so will my return to boxing. Another thing I loved about Bayside was my school. School also provided a purpose for me and set a routine for me to follow. Waking up, getting ready for school, and doing well at school was a daily routine that became a part of me after following it for the past 18 years of my life. Covid-19 changed that and took away this routine which, I admit, was difficult at first but eventually allowed me to build a new routine, one that I have been following for the past 6 months. This routine includes exercising and interacting with my family, two things that I did not make priority before the virus but have now become a daily blessing. Although I miss my boxing gym, my school, the great food and many other things in Bayside I have come to terms with these losses and have been able to create something new in the devastation like a rainbow after a storm. 

The previous paragraphs covered the spring of 2020 which were about adjustment and dealing with the effects of the pandemic. The summer of 2020 has been about making the best of the situation and working on improving our lives every spare moment. I have noticed many things during the pandemic and the thing that stuck out the most to me was the sense of community that the pandemic evoked. Many people made signs thanking our essential workers for continuing to help the community even at the risk of their health. People in Italy and Spain went out on their balconies and clapped and rang bells at the same time for nights in a row. This sense of community has been very powerful and has also led to people wearing masks and social distancing to protect one another. Although the pandemic has harmed many people it has also shown that people can come together and persevere through hard times, which is exactly what happened during 9/11. As the number of cases have reduced  in previously hard hit states such as New York, the world is slowly recovering from the devastation that the pandemic has caused. It is my firm belief that we as human beings are a resilient species because of our ability to recover from the hardest of times, to get up, brush off the dust and dirt, and try again.  Like a forest after a natural wildfire we come back much stronger and more experienced than before, ready to start anew as we each strive to live our lives to the fullest.

Where did I leave off?

Oh, yes, I was taking hikes with Shiro, my dog, up the South-side hill. This quarantine activity stopped right after we almost got EATEN by a Coyote in the middle of the day. However, that story is too long and dramatic to record it for Pandemic History.  We escaped unhurt yet traumatized, and I ended up loving my dog even more.

Shiro walking Southside

I continued walking South-side drive up and down, taught my regular summer courses, and tried to disconnect from reality. This is easy for some of us that live on the mountain. In July I felt nostalgic for my classroom. It has been the longest summer break at home with my family. Listened to U.S. news through the lens of Colombian news and did not want to think.

Like our students, two days before deadline, I am not totally ready, but see the light. 

The light of a computer screen and multiple faces, pictures, or initials. One part of me feels excited for what is ahead, a new way of teaching and learning; other part of me feels worried and misses student contact. I drove by a live campus two days ago, calmer, organized, and full of young minds.

I guess I am ready for my online full-planned experience, just need to pick up my office.

See you in TEAMS.

pandemic vacation

PANDEMIC VACATION

Can you go on a family vacation during a global pandemic?

With proper planning, suitable paranoia, and limited expectations, the answer is yes. What follows is a short description of the efforts of our family for a getaway during the pandemic summer of 2020. My tale shows that sometimes with a bit of planning, attention to safety, and flexibility, you can still have a bit of joy in the grimmest of times.

At first, I thought the suggestion was insane: “Can we please go on a family vacation?” The question came from my son Jon, who is on the autism spectrum and can get very focused on matters that are important to him. During the peak of the COVID pandemic in Spring 2020 this idea seemed extremely unlikely. With the spike of COVID cases in New York in the Spring, vacationing was the last thing on my mind. During the worst of the Spring COVID surge, my life revolved around teaching all my classes online and nervously venturing out to the grocery store once a week. I did not go to restaurants. I did not socialize with friends. I did not go into my office except briefly some evenings to grab some books or documents. No friends entered our house. It was like being in a siege (or in a prison) with my family as my only real social contacts. The highlight of the week was Friday night take out for supper.

By the summer things did improve a bit. Cases dropped. We kept on our masks and socially distanced from non-family members. We still abided by our rule of having no friends into the house. However, we began to have socially distant social gatherings of a few select friends on our front porch. We had a stone patio put in our backyard and started tentatively to host a few select friends there. We ordered take out and ate it all outside. We felt slightly more normal but were still quite careful. No shared cutlery! No shared drinks! Tons of hand sanitizers! Face masks when you are not eating! Everyone sitting more than six feet apart! By June I began to go into my office a few days a week to do academic work there.

By the time late July rolled around, the vacation idea could not be avoided. Jon persisted. He had a point. By then he was even working a few days a week (masked of course) in the kitchen at Applebee’s as a summer job. He felt a family vacation was a sacred family ritual. I relented.

We had cancelled a huge summer trip to Canada for 2020. We were going to visit our much-loved family in Ontario and then fly out to Newfoundland, Canada’s easternmost province. I had never been to Newfoundland (fondly called “The Rock” by Newfoundlanders). It was the first part of North America visited by Europeans (by the Vikings in the 11th century and John Cabot in the 15th century). It was the last province to join Canada in 1949. It had its own distinct dialect of English, its own extremely potent brand of rum (called Screech), a long history associated with the fisheries and shipping and distinct wooden architecture around the scenic harbor of St. John’s. It had history, scenery, whale and puffin watching tours. Ocean vistas and views beckoned. COVID shattered our Newfoundland plans. We could not cross the border. We did not feel safe undertaking a long vacation. So, we scaled back our expectations.

We settled on Ithaca, New York. I nervously booked a hotel near Cornell University for only 2 nights.  We planned it out so we would eat picnics outside or at restaurants with outdoor dining. My expectations were immediately exceeded when we stopped at Whitney Point (which we had driven through dozens of times on the way to Canada without it registering in my consciousness at all) and found a beautiful park by a lake for a picnic lunch. Upon arrival in Ithaca, we nervously checked into our hotel. We brought wipes to wipe down our hotel room. We wore masks. We got the takeout breakfast from the hotel and ate our muffins on a nearby picnic bench.

While in Ithaca we did not do too much yet it was such a pleasant change from our isolated lives in Oneonta. We went to several beautiful parks and hiked to see waterfalls. We walked around Cornell University. I read a trashy novel in the evenings. In honor of our vegetarian daughter Sara, we ate a great all vegetarian meal at tables outside of the famous Moosewood restaurant. We walked around the Ithaca Commons pedestrian area. We got ice creams. We tried to go swimming at a park at Cayuga Lake, but it rained. It was ordinary. But it was extraordinary. Even with masks, hand sanitizers, a bit of paranoia about keeping socially distant from strangers and no indoor dining or museums, it was great. It was wonderful to break routine and explore even for a bit. We felt rejuvenated. We stayed healthy. All went well.

In the months to come, especially when COVID’s next wave hit with a resurgence in the Fall. I kept telling my ever-patient wife Michelle, “You know, Jon was right about that summer vacation!”  At least we created one pleasant memory from the horrible season of COVID.

Staying Centered: My Baseball Chat Group

       

By Bill Simons, Professor History and UUP Representative, NYSUT/AFT Conventions

(Earlier versions of this account appeared in The Mountain Eagle and UUP-date.)

August 13, 2020

       The Coronavirus Era is far from over even as SUNY Oneonta moves forward to take some initial, calibrated steps to open up. The SUNY Oneonta community has demonstrated dedication in preparation for our first full, but perhaps not last, semester of distance learning. With restrictions and new responsibilities, we have all found our internal gyroscopes challenged. UUP (United University Professions) members have shared accounts of activities, including pet bonding, special recipes, gardening, performing music, and photography, that keep them centered. Here’s mine: a baseball chat group.

       Chat group membership has fluctuated, but our current roster lists 26, the same number of players carried by a major league team. We communicate by email list serv. Our bond is an enduring love of baseball. All of us have prior history with at least some of the others. One of the connections is participation in the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture. The latter association means that a core of us have also played together in spirited town ball games. Although MLB, with a July start, commenced a hoped for 60-game regular season, the reality is that many levels of baseball in the U.S., including Little League, camps, and the minors are currently shuttered. Cardboard faux fans account for the fictive attendance at MLB games. From the convening of pitchers and catchers in February until autumn chill announces the final game of the World Series, we usually find balance in our lives from the rhythms of the game. Hence, as a substitute, our baseball chat group emerged.

       Mark is the founder of the group, initially presented as a platform for baseball trivia questions. Although that continues, the network has come to also include sharing of information, video and text links, well-told stories, witticism, debate challenges, proposals for reforming baseball, nostalgia, all-time ethnic all-star teams—and eloquent digression. Structure, of sorts, evolved with the appointment of David as the Commissioner. David also carries the sobriquet of “The Batboy,” earned by serving in that capacity for the St. Louis Cardinals during the prime of Curt Flood and Lou Brock.

       No day passes without robust chat group communication, and some days bring a lot of it. Baseball trivia questions still form the spine of the back-and-forth. Although there might be a couple of strikes—or more—before a correct answer emerges, a winning response will invariably come. Protocols preclude Googling for an answer or consulting a baseball reference book: such a breach might, if discovered, lead to the suspension of the miscreant by the Commissioner. In terms of baseball IQ, this is a very erudite group, whose membership, through the years, has published books and articles about what we still stubbornly claim is our national pastime. As the passage of the baseball seasons attest, we are not a young group, but we are still passionate.

    Here are a few examples of trivia questions —some exceptionally trivial—that chat group members have challenged their compatriots with:

     1. Who was the first Latinx to win a Most Valuable Player Award? (Answer: Ted Williams. Although his ethnic antecedents were not widely publicized, Teddy Ballgame was the son of a Mexican-American mother.)

   2. What seven players had 20 or more home runs, triples, and stolen bases in the same season?

(Answer: Wildfire Schultz, 1911; Jim Bottomley, 1928; Jeff Heath, 1941; Willie Mays, 1957; George Brett, 1979; Jimmy Rollins, 2007; and Curtis Granderson, 2007. In 2002, Granderson began his professional baseball career patrolling the outfield for the Oneonta Tigers of the Single A New York-Penn League.)

     3.  Who was the most famous person in the audience at the first public performance of “Casey at the Bat?” — baseball’s iconic poem — on August 14, 1888, in New York City? (Answer: Former Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman. Civil War generals have important connections to baseball, notably the myth, long widely believed, that Abner Doubleday, who fired the first shot in defense of Fort Sumter, invented the game.)

   We also do virtual celebrations and did so on May 6th to honor the 89th birthday of Willie Mays, the Giants’ legendary centerfielder and arguably the greatest living ballplayer. Amongst the stories told on that special day was the following, perhaps apocryphal: “Willie went in to see Giants owner Horace Stoneham to get a raise. Stoneham refused. Departing, Willie instead of turning left to go home, turned right. Willie went to the local Chevrolet dealership, bought a car, told the salesman to bill the car to the Giants, and then went home.” Our devotion to baseball—and need for a baseball chat forum during the battle against the coronavirus—is exemplified by memories of Willie circa 1954 playing stickball with kids in the streets of Harlem.

   For many of us, the love of the game came early. My sister recently rediscovered and forwarded old family film of me, aged 7, swinging at baseballs. Nearly 65-years later on these shuttered corona days, I daily hit baseballs into a backyard net, a vignette I shared with my baseball chat group.

The View From Here

Regatta, 2020

I had great plans, but then again, I always have great plans. Finish off this semester, do a quick spin around a summer class and then I was on sabbatical for the rest of 2020. Not due back at school until mid January. I was going to Iceland, Scandinavia, along with Canada and Alaska, in an attempt to get a photograph of the ever elusive aurora borealis. The Canada/Alaska portion was to be travelled via a nicely rigged out van sized RV. Then something else happened. I guess I should have known, it was inevitable. You see, my artwork is based on Free Association. So when I work, if I cross something in my path, I abandon my current path and take off on the new one, until, another one crosses my path. This way I always end up in some place new. So when the Corona Virus decided to cross my path, I should not have been surprised. All of a sudden, my sabbatical dreams of a trip imagined for several years was lying in a pile of cancelled reservations. As my ability to walk is diminishing faster than the Trump presidency, the window of opportunity for me to take these trips is getting smaller. With a disease that affects the lungs, I am a prime example of someone who needs to avoid the virus at all costs. This means I sit in a chair at home. The pandemic has given me plenty of time to sit. Sit and think and sit and stare. Being compulsive, I count things, how many window panes, how many wood strips in the ceiling. Every day, the count never changes. Mostly I stare out the window and watch the birds on our feeders. We started out in the Spring with over a dozen feeders hanging outside our windows, but a visit from a huge black bear made us rethink that idea. Now we hang just a few and bring them in every night. In the morning, the goldfinches remind us “It’s time” to put out the feeders. Thank god for the birds. 

So you could say that my sabbatical has gone to the birds, but after all, that’s not such a bad place to be. Feeling confined, I was looking for a subject to draw, or paint, something that was readily available. I decided to embark on a series of paintings about the birds on my feeders. Not really wanting to create a photorealistic or James Audubon likeness, I wanted to try and come up with an abstract means that would convey the idea of a bird and everything about them into an image. I made a series of sketches of my visitors, thinking I would glean something from these images that would give me an idea. But soon my mind started to wander and I found myself surfing the interwebs, checking up on what my friends were doing and seeing if the world had crumbled yet. I came upon a post from a friend who is heavily into sailing and read of their adventures in a race on lake Huron and Lake Michigan. The post included a simple picture taken from their boat with nothing but part of the boat and endless water ahead. But the story was enough to get my mind out of my stagnate room and out onto the water. I imagined the regatta of sail boats, dancing on the wind and I was gone. I was no longer stuck In my house, I could feel the wind and the spray. Thank god I wasn’t actually in a boat, or I would have been puking my guts out as I am incredibly motion sick enabled. I spent the afternoon drawing sailboats and the result is posted above. Like paintings of the old masters, where they have x-rayed the painting to discover other previous images buried beneath, to get a glimpse of the artists process. If you would just look at the original Photoshop file I used to layout the image before taking it my paint synthesis program, you would see, the bottom couple layers are all sketches of birds on my feeders. As the layers were added, the birds disappeared and sailboats emerged. I’m still drawing birds, but I don’t know if I can share them, it’s kind of like posting pictures of your kids on social media. They are still a little to close. Throughout the pandemic, I have been sketching everyday, and everyday I start out with a perfectly good plan but Along Comes Mary, (see how I worked that reference to The Association into this, they were a singing group from the 60’s for you young punks) and I’m off on something completely different. I’ve not finished a plan yet, and plan not to. 

Sven Anderson

Soccer in the age of Covid-19

One of the many things we have lost in these pandemic times is to be close to our friends. We miss shaking hands, having lengthy intellectual conversations face to face or playing group sports. We are afraid of the virus and this keeps us apart. We are afraid of being infected and getting sick. After more than four months of the Covid-19 outbreak, we know a great deal about this virus, thanks to the studies of competent scientists. For example, we know that this virus gets transmitted from one person to another when in close contact for an extended period of time. For that reason, health authorities recommend social distancing, wearing a mask and avoiding being in closed spaces to minimize infection. With that in mind, I suggested to my friend Matthew that we play some “socially distant” soccer. In other words, pass the ball around with each player far enough (30 meters) from each other and do that for 45 minutes or so every Saturday in Nehwa Park. The weather is being very cooperative. We have enjoyed beautiful sunny days. We agreed on avoiding using our hands when we manipulate the soccer ball, and only use our feet to kick the ball. If we need to communicate we have to speak a bit louder. We won’t do “high fives” and when it is time to end the exercise we will depart individually. We discovered that this was a nice workout. We will keep doing it as weather permits and until this pandemic ends. 

By Miguel León

WE USED TO WAIT: OR REDISCOVERING THE LOST ART OF LETTER WRITING IN THE GREAT PANDEMIC OF 2020

“I used to write

I used to write letters

I used to sign my name

I used to sleep at night

Before the flashing light settled deep in my brain” –  Arcade Fire, “We Used to Wait” (from The Suburbs)

It figures that Arcade Fire, a band from Montreal, would speak to my current frame of mind. I am a dual citizen of Canada and the USA who did graduate study in Montreal and am living through the great pandemic of 2020.  What I have been thinking about is this: In our new world of instant connectivity and constant social media interaction, have we lost something vital that helped past generations survive similar uncertainties – the venerable art of letter writing?

I must admit I have always been old fashioned about letter writing. To this day, I still like getting mail. I subscribe to print magazines. Every year I send out an actual hard copy Christmas newsletter and Christmas cards. Perhaps I am a dinosaur.  I have fond memories of getting mail from American grandparents when I was a child growing up in Canada, of receiving notes and letters from my parents when I was living away from home as an undergraduate and sending and receiving countless letters to my future wife when we lived in separate cities during undergraduate summers and graduate school (as well as research trips). In the day – I loved getting postcards too. There would be a professional photo on the front of the card with exotic stamps and a cheery scrawl on the back of the card outlining whatever foreign adventure the sender was on. I always got a kick out of picking up letters from the mailbox, sorting through them and opening them. Letters are so tangible and personal. There is something special when you realize that a person has taken the time to compose some ordered thoughts on a piece of paper by hand and send them your way. Better still, you can read them at leisure. If the letter is long you can even read it in segments and re-read it.  If the letter is meaningful you can keep it for years.

Which brings me to my two points – Why have we lost the art of letter writing and can the pandemic offer a chance at a revival?  I suppose no one writes letters anymore because it takes too long and seems to be too much effort. Better to send a GIF, make a post, send an emoji or tap out a few words on Facebook to “Stay in touch”. However, I would hazard to say that this does not really fill people’s hunger for connection. Social media’s greatest advantages are the ability to send images and quick succinct (hopefully witty) sentences and phrases. It cannot be denied that the ability to chronicle one’s trips, days, adventures by picture sent from mobile phones through Instagram or other apps as well as putting on Facebook gives a sense of immediacy. What I worry about though is that people cannot dig as deep when they have a character limit on Twitter or messaging services. Let’s also admit that there is not often too much contemplation put into most instant communication. The point is not to choose your words carefully but to send them quickly. It gives a dopamine hit to the brain to send and receive such things. Reflection is usually absent. People are busy and the technology exists, so it is used. It all makes sense. However, as Arcade Fire’s words point out – it has also created enormous anxiety over what people are missing or what others are up to.  Maybe no one sleeps at night anymore.

Letter writing is something different. It is almost a form of meditation. By getting out a blank piece of paper you can craft your own tale and tell your own narrative. Events, observations, thoughts over the past few weeks (or months if it has been a while) can flow out of your pen. Inner thoughts not always best shared through social media (which might be reposted to others) can also be revealed. Due to the pandemic, I have not been able to travel to see family in Canada or friends more distant in places like the UK. I have taken my own advice and begun to rediscover letter writing. I took a deep breath, got out some pieces of lined paper and started. I found it very rewarding. Sitting down for 45 minutes to an hour and just writing out my thoughts made me feel more focused and more connected. I was able to explain to myself as I explained to others the meaning of what I have been experiencing through the pandemic. I was able to shape my thoughts and put them into a narrative. It felt personal. It felt real. I felt more relaxed and calmer. When it was done it felt concrete. I put it into an envelope – sealed it up and then had an excuse to get outside and walk to a mailbox. Then (again as Arcade Fire sang) I waited until it was received. Inevitably the recipients got back to me in more modern ways through email or telephone conversations. However, they were as pleasantly surprised to get an 8-page handwritten letter as I was to send it. My mother complimented my letter as “newsy” which is a nice way to put it. I will see if my recipients are inspired enough to write me back but that is beside the point. The art of composing and writing letters was invigorating and I will repeat it. Though they are not always happy about it I have even conscripted my children into writing much shorter letters to their relatives as well.

As a historian I have read and continue to read countless letters from the past. In British archives, I have seen the indecipherable handwriting of Lord Curzon (one-time Viceroy of India). I have read over the letters of other early 20th century worthies like Lord Roberts and Lord and Lady Milner. I have sat in the home of the descendants of female aristocratic leaders like Lady Forster and read her words retrieved from a trunk in the basement of their home. I have held letters written and signed by British Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Harold Macmillan. I have sat in Hong Kong and read the letters and correspondence of past governors like Sir Murray MacLehose.  When I wrote an article about the Shakespeare Tercentenary of 1916, I did research in the National Archives in Washington, DC and read letters by President Wilson. There is something enthralling about holding the correspondence of long dead figures you are studying. They literally spring to life out of the page. I have no illusions that I will have any long-term historical importance myself. However, in a small way by reviving letter writing on my own I feel I am keeping the record going as well as reaching out to people I care about. Letter writing is both therapeutic and meaningful to me. Maybe others may rediscover it too.

To close with more words from Arcade Fire – (also from “We Used to Wait”)

“It may seem strange how we used to wait for letters to arrive

But what’s stranger still is how something so small can keep you alive”

THE TIME MY KID TOOK OFF HER MASK AT TARGET

I may go viral soon.

Recently, my husband and two daughters stopped by Target to pick up a few odds and ends. Throughout quarantine, my kids have been earning money and their pockets were burning. They both thought carefully about what to buy, giving me a quiet satisfaction that, at 9 and 13, they are beginning to understand budgeting and the cost of the objects of their desire. My 9-year old, Charlotte, was quick to make her selections: a weird stuffed animal thing in a plastic box shaped like a melting popsicle, sharpies for drawing class, and stickers.

As usual, my 13-year old cemented herself in the office supply aisle. Caroline is a collector, having accumulated over 50 notebooks and a dozen or more water bottles. Mechanical pencils are a newer passion and she requests them daily. She is so passionate about her collectibles that she often gets stuck on only one topic that she can’t unstick herself from thinking about. Right now, it is pencils.“Mom, will you buy me mechanical pencils? Can we go to the store to buy them? Can you order them on Amazon? Can you do it now?”

Having her own money helps Caroline understand that we can buy what we’d like with money we’ve earned. It also helps her practice strengthening her impulse control, gain a sense of delayed gratification, and improve her math skills. As a kiddo with a developmental delay, these are all really critical milestones. Sometimes, Caroline’s behavior is like that of a small child, which is frustrating to all of us in her family because we have expectations for the behavior and actions of children as they age. Life would sure be easier if Caroline had the competencies and maturity of other kids her age, but she doesn’t, so we continue to navigate the bumps in the road.

While she was still hovering over the pencils, I stood at the end of the aisle and gave Caroline a five minute warning, a technique we use often to help her transition between activities. Dancing a bit between aisles in an attempt to keep 6 feet of distance between me and the other shoppers, I then prompted Caroline with a one-minute countdown and she reluctantly turned toward me with a small pack of mechanical pencils in her hand. Following a protocol we established with her behavior specialist, I praised her for making a choice and transitioning without any issues.

“All set, buddy?” I asked her, sensing her frustration at being pushed to make a decision not at her own pace.

“Yeah. I guess so. I’ll just get these today.” I could tell she was internally processing all the things we’ve been working on teaching her and I was proud. Just a few years ago, we weren’t able to leave a Target without her tantrumming over being told no to a purchase request. Now, she can bring her own money, prioritize her purchases, and leave happy with her decision.

My husband and I checked out first, spending too much money on not very much, like underwear and shampoo, but also scoring a few containers of that amazing Target trail mix with chocolate. Charlotte was next and I pumped sanitizer onto her hands as she stepped away from the checkout area. Finally, Caroline placed her pack of pencils on the conveyor belt. She methodically and cautiously pulled the money  from her wallet and gathered her small bag with a satisfied smile. I pumped sanitizer onto her hands as we left.

I walked slightly ahead of Caroline, who moves at a slower pace. My mind was on dinner plans and getting home before anything frozen thawed on this hot summer day. I stopped to look both ways before stepping off of the sidewalk and heard someone shouting. A young woman passed me and Caroline. She made eye contact with me and I’d tried to eye smile at her, as I’m now practicing since nobody can see my mouth behind my mask. Now, I realized she was shouting at me. Or rather at Caroline who had just taken off her mask.. “Put on your mask! What’s wrong with you!” I turned toward the woman as her words lashed in our direction and echoed across the parking lot. A few passersby had stopped to watch the interaction. The young woman, two dozen paces from us, stood firm, her feet planted in a power stance, her arms waving, and her eyes blazing above her mask. “There’s a pandemic happening! Put on a mask! What is wrong with people?”

Disinterested in escalating the situation and concerned for Caroline, I grabbed her hand, put my head down, and walked swiftly toward the car.  My masked face was hot and turning red. I was so embarrassed. Caroline started crying. As we drove home, I wondered if that woman had taken a photo of us. I couldn’t recall if she had her device in hand. Were Caroline and I about to go viral? Would the world soon see me as just another angry Karen, pushing her privileged agenda over the safety of others?

We barely left the house for three months, we still wear masks and we socially distance. Asking if the kids have their masks and sanitizer is now as routine as reminding them to go to the bathroom before we leave. I’m frustrated when I see people in public not wearing a mask or wearing it tucked under their nose.  To the woman I encountered yesterday at Target, I am sorry and I apologize for not doing my job as a parent by ensuring my child followed masking protocol. I should have been walking alongside her and caught her unmasking. I know you are upset and scared and maybe someone you know or love has been a victim of COVID and all you wanted to do was go to Target and buy underwear and trail mix without worrying you’d be infected because of some stupid Karen and her kid. We learned our lesson and, next time we go out, we will do better.

If I had the chance to meet her, I would share Caroline’s story with her and tell her how proud we are to have her as our daughter and watch her overcome things, like her ability to wear a mask despite her sensory challenges. I would apologize. If she were still listening, I’d challenge her. I’d ask her if she had ever been shamed as a child when she made a mistake and I’d ask her how she felt in that moment. I’d ask if it changed her behavior and I’d ask her if she carried that shame long after it took place, having forgotten what action precipitated the shaming, but not the feeling of being told you are less than.

It was a teachable moment for me. It reminded me that our actions speak loudly and make a lasting impact, for better and worse.

FRIDAY TAKEOUT UNMASKED

My family started a new tradition shortly after the Governor declared a state of emergency in New York.  To support our local businesses, break the monotony of being at home all day, avoid preparing dinner, consume delicious food, and establish an event to look forward to, we decided to order from a different restaurant on Fridays.   At this point of the pandemic, we were instructed to stay home and social distance.   COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations were increasing at an alarming rate in New York City.  Cases were confirmed in Otsego County. Consequently, we ordered our food online and requested contact-less delivery.  One of the first restaurants we ordered from serves Jamaican-American food.  It was slated to have its grand opening on the day the Governor ordered businesses closed.  Luckily for us as connoisseurs of Jamaican food, the owners decided to transition to the take-out model.  When the owner delivered the food to the house, I was on my front porch.  She and I maintained a distance of at least six feet as she gently rested our food at the top of the stairs to my porch.  She was grateful for the business and I was grateful for the delicious food.

We continued this pattern of contact-free delivery of our Friday meal until early May when we saw signs that the COVID-19 situation was improving.   At this point in the pandemic, COVID-19 hospitalization and death rates were slowing down in New York.  We were now required to wear masks in public when social distancing was impossible.  Our next-door neighbor had closed his Japanese restaurant in March and promised to open only when he felt the pandemic was under control. We were happy when he announced in late April that he was reopening his restaurant for takeout. To celebrate the opening of our neighbor’s restaurant, we decided to order our Friday meal from him.  We were feeling braver and decided to venture to the restaurant and pick up our food order.  We walked to the restaurant. We wore our masks. We picked up our food from our neighbor. He met all customers at the front door.  He was thrilled to see us. He wore a mask and gloves.  He placed hand sanitizer on the pick-up table for his customers.  He prominently displayed a sign about the benefits of wearing masks and good hygiene.  He gave us our food. We returned home and enjoyed our delicious meal. 

We continued our Friday tradition into June. On one Friday, as our region entered phase three of reopening, we became even bolder.  We decided to order from a restaurant we had never previously ordered from or dined at in pre-pandemic days.   We had heard good things about it.  We followed the usual pattern: order online, go to the restaurant, wear mask, get food.  As I approached the restaurant, I noticed a sign on the door indicating that customers entering the restaurant must wear masks. No problem.  We were wearing our masks.   We entered the building. There were two staff and one customer in the restaurant.  Ironically, none of them was wearing a mask.  I greeted the staff.  The person behind the bar looked uncomfortable and confused.  “May I help you?” he asked. The question was distinctly unfriendly.  “I am here to pick up my food order,” I said in a friendly and polite manner.  My response appeared to confuse him even more.  “What did you order?”  I told him.  More confusion.  What was the problem?  My mask?  The sign on the door specifically stated that anyone entering the restaurant must wear a mask. I was wearing a plain white mask on this evening, not the other one I kept at home that declared my allegiance to the Toronto Raptors.  Was it my brown skin? My curly black hair?  My brightly colored dress?  One of my daughter’s health care providers once informed me that the yellow fleece I was wearing was “rather bright” and the comment was not meant to be complimentary.  Was it because I was not a regular? Was it my Canadian accent which still has traces of a Jamaican inflection that he could not quite place?  Many years ago, a SUNY Oneonta faculty member once asked me if I was from Long Island.  I thought that was an odd question, but I digress.  Did the man behind the counter think I was a fugitive from downstate? An outsider?   Still looking dubious, he moved to the kitchen to ask the chef about my order.  The chef emerged from the kitchen with the meals I had ordered and passed them on to the waitress.  She started fiddling with the cash register.  “I already paid,” I said, keeping my tone even and still friendly.  My husband tried to make small talk with her but his attempts did not break the tension in the room.  The waitress confirmed my payment, gave us our food, and we left.

“Is it just me, or was that really uncomfortable?” I asked my husband when we were safely in our car. “Nope,” he replied, “That was definitely unwelcoming.”  “It’s a good thing you were with me,” I responded.  Once an outsider, always an outsider, despite living in Oneonta for almost twenty years, I thought to myself.  Well, at least we had our food, though unfortunately it turned out to be like the service, unpleasant.  “Next week, we ought to order dinner from the Indian restaurant,” my husband suggested.  “Yes,” I agreed.  The food is delicious, the staff is friendly, and they wear their masks. 

Hindsight 2020

Below are a few more of my diary entries from the beginning of the pandemic. There’s a lot I’d like to comment on now that I’m looking back on it:

March 25th. 2020

Roughly day nine of self-isolation, I would have had my 8am film class today, followed by Environmental Sustainability at 9am, with a break in classes after usually to go eat, shower/ get ready for the day, then a 12pm video production class. Usually I’d study for the after noon and have dinner with my friends at 7pm and spent the night with Ryan until I went to sleep.

Ryan had an overnight shift last night but a few hours before he had to leave for it, the White House announced anyone who’s left the NYC area within the last 14 days, (this includes Ryan) must self-quarantine for two weeks. So Ryan had to decide whether or not to go in. He’s been working with the public for a few weeks now and only worked after close for the last three days so he decided to go in. The new rule also effects whether or not I can get my things from my dorm when I’m scheduled to on Saturday.

We also found out that my friend Jonathan’s friend has tested positive for COVID, I had seen Jonathan the weekend Ryan came to visit and Jonathan had seen his friend the day before so now I’m hyper aware of  every time I sneeze.

I’ve been way busier with schoolwork than I was expecting, I’m taking a trip to target today I think, after classes, I’m really looking forward to leaving the house. Were taking gloves and hand sanitizer with us just in case.

March 28th, 2020

I picked up my things from my dorm today, the most excitement we’ve had in a few weeks honestly, and the farthest I’ve been from my house in about a month. I got to see Ryan; I’d be lying if I said there weren’t any tears. I don’t know when I’m going t get to see him again after today, it could be months. That’s the worst part of all this, not knowing when it’ll end, no count down it seems endless and its only going to get worse before it gets better.

I’m happy to have my clothes back, I’d been wearing the same three outfits for the past three weeks, not that I have anything to dress up for, but a nice mix of sweatpants and leggings couldn’t hurt. It has been a week since people have been moving their stuff out of their dorms, my friends across the hall have all moved their things out except for Kiara, it’s a ghost town on campus, everyone’s keeping their distance, getting in and out as fast as we can.

Classes have been going on for about a week now, most professors are keeping us organized and I appreciate that this was thrown on all of us at the same time, one of my classes was video production which was nearly all hands on so I haven’t got anything from that class yet, not sure if I might have to drop it. Schools been keeping me busy and were almost out of March, I’ve stopped watching the news, its helped a lot, nothings getting better.

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There’s so much about this I can’t even believe I wrote looking back, there were so many things I was going to have to worry about besides the variety of clothes I had at home, people were literally dying by the thousands and my biggest concern was my wardrobe, that mind set changed pretty quickly. Also, this was the last time I saw Ryan in person for another two and a half months, even writing that I never could’ve imagined we’d be three and a half months in and still where we are. no one could have predicted this.

Looking back – (Three-ish months later)

I’ve recently been reminded of the diary entries that I wrote at the very beginning of quarantine and I’d like to share them here, maybe some hindsight can help us all find a silver lining in all of this.

March 24th, 2020

Although this is my first entry, I am roughly a week and one day into self quarantine with my family. I’ve been home from school now two and a half weeks, a week and a half longer than anyone was expecting.

When I left for spring break on March 5th a world pandemic was nowhere on my mind, nowhere in the news, it was not a possibility. As the week went on the world seemed to change overnight. I left on Friday, by Monday schools were closing, the news was on 24/7, but it still felt temporary, a news story that would pass in a week leaving nothing but some examples of the worst and the best of humanity and a few new memes. By Friday it was practically at my doorstep. The number of cases, especially in New York, have been rising by the hundreds and SUNY schools are officially closed. This was not going away any time soon.

No one was prepared for this, especially my friends from school, other than me and my sister we all live no closer than an hour or two from each other. We knew we’d have to leave for summer, but we still had so much to do. Formals to go to, birthdays to celebrate and for a few of us graduation was around the corner. My few of my friends have all decided to face time once a week to keep in touch, but were still so lonely stuck at home.

I’m away from my boyfriend too. We had a pretty great set up living a dorm away from each other at school but Albany and Staten Island are a bit farther apart. The weekend before everything really shut down he came to visit, just in case he couldn’t by Monday.

He spent three days here, he tried his first New York City bagel and loved it (of course) and I got to show him my high school and he met more of my family it was an amazing weekend, he left Monday, I have no idea when ill get to see him again.

Monday was definitely my worst day, I couldn’t look at social media, any news I just wanted to shut out everything “COVID” “virus” “pandemic” I am incredibly overstimulated i need school to start back up because I cannot take much more of this.

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I’ll continue to add some of my older entries that still feel relevant, this entry feels like it was written in a different decade, so much has happened since.

Zoom – a new household term

Before March 16, I had not heard of Zoom, but since then, it has become a word we use frequently in our household. Between my daughter’s Zoom classes for school and dance, my Zoom meetings for work, and my husband joining in Zoom calls with friends and family, we are all too familiar with it. It just strikes me that something I didn’t think of pre-pandemic or a term I even referred to, is so common now. I even find myself thinking after a Zoom call with friends in other states or countries, “Why didn’t we do this before?” Sure, we were all busier and didn’t need to think of ways to stay in touch virtually like we have had to do in quarantine. However, I am now finding it a fun way of having a group gathering with distant friends and family and bringing people together. Since being in quarantine, there is a group of us who went to college together in Ohio, who now Zoom once a month and have reconnected after 20 years! Some live in Canada, Florida, etc. but for that hour each month, it is like we are all sitting around in someone’s living room sharing stories, laughs and our feelings about quarantine. I know for some, having to have Zoom meetings and Zoom classes may not be something that brings up such positive thoughts, but there is this other aspect to Zoom which has made quarantine in our household more bearable.

PROTESTING IN THE AGE OF THE PANDEMIC

It seems obvious in retrospect that history does not stand still even during a biological emergency. Long simmering problems like racial discrimination and racial inequality do not go away when plague stalks the land. Police brutality does not cease. Injustice does not take a break. However, it does lead to an important question:

How does one protest during a pandemic?

I suppose the answer comes in two words: Purposefully and carefully

My family decided to join the Black Lives Matter protest planned in front of the Otsego County Court House in Cooperstown, New York on June 7, 2020. Our children insisted that we go. As we are a bi-racial family this cause was not abstract to us. It was real. We made signs together including one that said “Black Lives Matter” which included the faces of people of color whose lives were ended far too soon by white violence – Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Emmet Till and Ahmaud Arbery.

Our family all wore masks. We all waved our signs and felt a sense of unity with everyone gathered. There were 500 people standing in the sunshine holding signs, but they kept socially distant. On that beautiful summer’s day in an idyllic setting of the place that is called “America’s perfect village”, speeches invoked the ugly underbelly of America – its historic record of racism. Just steps from the lovely old inns and shimmering waters of “Glimmerglass lake”, we heard Lee Fisher, the head of the local NAACP speak about systemic racism. We heard Shannon McHugh, a member of the Oneonta Commission on Community Relations and Human Rights instruct the crowd on how white people can be allies and what they should do. We heard Rev. La Dana Clark point to the links of religion and protest. We heard Bryce Wooden, a long time Oneonta resident who is biracial, speak of when the police burst into his home when he was a young boy in a mistaken drug raid. The speakers were powerful. The crowd was enthusiastic and peaceful. The sun shone with a gentle breeze. We left emboldened with a new sense of purpose and were glad that we experienced it as a family.

There was a deep irony at work as we protested during the pandemic. Social distance and masks were used by the protesters as a conscious way to avoid the contagion of COVID. However, the point of the protest was that the contagion of racism cannot be so easily controlled. It has been long lasting, deadly and there is no easy cure. No masks and no vaccines will protect you from it. Nevertheless, we did leave the protest with a sense of hope. We signed up to join the local NAACP and gave a donation and prepared to think about how America could be better.

There would be other local protests that summer. Our daughter attended one downtown. Michelle and I went to Neahwa Park to celebrate Juneteenth (marking the formal end of slavery) with a candlelight vigil and listened on a summer’s evening to local speakers. All these events were masked and socially distant. They all mattered.

Still, I think the day together as a family in Cooperstown was the most memorable for us. Together we gathered with many others during a pandemic on a brilliant sunny day. We were passionate and peaceful. Purposeful and receptive.  It was a way to acknowledge that change might still be possible. Biological diseases are caused by nature and spread by people. Racial hatred is fanned by people and spread by people. If a nation can come together to conquer one, why can’t they conquer the other as well?  

Quarantined; from the outside looking in

I wanted a way to connect with my friends and family while staying safe and keeping our distance, so I decided to photograph them from the outside looking in.  I also wanted to give people a space to express how they are feeling about this pandemic and being quarantined, so I asked everyone a few short questions to answer as they felt fit.​

  1. What are you feeling during this time?  How is this effecting you personally?​
  2. How has this pandemic effected your job and/or schooling?​
  3. If you haven’t been working, what have you been filling your time with?  Are you able to do things you normally don’t have time for?​

I wanted to know how this was effecting everyone personally, their jobs, schooling, what are people doing with their time.  I tried to get a range of situations, from people still working, those who were laid off, business owners, kids working on school from home, teachers and musicians to see the range of effects on our community.  Some people were more responsive than others, but I found some are being affected much more than others. 

Suzanne Schnettler
Palatine Bridge, NY
S: “Not much has changed for me during this pandemic.  I’m fortunate enough to be able to work from home.  I do miss the socialization with my co-workers though, so at times I do feel lonely working from home. “​
S: “I’m not getting any extra projects done at home since I spend most of the day working.  I have been making masks in my spare time to hand out to people.”​
Nick Jordan + Marissa Breault
Cherry Valley, NY
N: “I guess I would say that I am having lots of mixed feelings about what’s going on right now. I mean, generally speaking, I sit painfully in the middle on lots of issues.”​
   N: “I’m back in college for wildlife and fishery techniques right now.  This is a very hands on course of study, so “distance learning” is a struggle. My other half is working from home, so we have each other and our dogs, so there is a silver lining.”​
   N: “We’ve been fishing and doing lots of outdoor activities when the weather will allow, I plan on hunting turkeys no different than I ever would. There are lots of perks to living in the country, being away from lots of people and the type of panic that can bring is just the tip of the iceberg.” ​
Jack Loewenguth + Mikala Gallo
Oneonta, NY
M: “This time has surfaced many different feelings for both of us. I think from the beginning of this all, I’d say late February to now, we’ve experienced drastic change in our ideologies on how to approach the current situation. It has been a constant shift over months of confusion and sometimes chaos. However, this pause has been a welcomed break in many ways; the time and space to reflect as well as relax at moments has also been soothing and helpful. That’s not to say we don’t feel the intense frustration and unease this all has created for our community. We also feel thankful and fortunate that we can stay home with our pup.”​
    M: “This pandemic has forced both of us to stay home. Jack works at a gym which has been mandated to be closed until further notice, without pay. I (Mikala), have been home since March 17th and I am still receiving pay. I’m supposed to return to work May 15th, though it has been pushed back at least 3 times. We both agree that one of the most challenging pieces to this all is the unknown of when things will shift into a more socially “open” phase.”​
    M: “We’ve been spending a lot of time cooking, watching shows/movies, hiking, playing super smash bro’s, creating art, and crying. It’s been a stew of everything really.”​
Elizabeth Raphelson (Owner of The Underground Attic)
Oneonta, NY
E: “I am feeling quite literally everything during this time. Rollercoaster doesn’t begin to describe it. I feel thankful for my privilege, I feel sorry for the loss of so many people, I miss some of the things I do regularly that make me happy; I feel determined to make this time special.”​
    E: “This pandemic has meant my brick and mortar shop is closed. Same with my boyfriend who has a shop right next door. This is of course very scary, but I’m trying to do as much as I can with online sales and hope that I come out the other side having improved my business.”​
    E: “I am working, but during free time have been reading, exercising and doing creative activities like dancing and music!”​
Evan Jagels
Hartwick, NY
E: “I’ve been missing the varieties of human interaction and realizing the importance of a positive perspective. For example, isolation can be negative and daunting, while solitude can be contemplative and productive. Knowing that the whole world is in this together has been comforting too.”​
     E: “Innovation comes out of necessity and as an educator, this has forced me to adopt new methods of instruction and assessment. Some of these I will take with me when we return to the classroom. However, over half of my income comes from performing. Separate from the income, making music for and with people has such immensely positive social and emotional benefits that I am deeply missing. It’s largely who I am, and that has been suspended indefinitely.”​
     E: “My biggest hobby are things that move. Luckily, I was able to order a lot of parts during the onset of everything and I have gotten a lot of work done on my motorcycles and my van. I am a bit of a gym rat, swimmer, and rock climber and have been finding new ways to stay active and exercise using what I have on my property. I’ve also been spending more time doing visual art, and, of course, practicing music and collaborating with friends and colleagues all over the world on some fun and interesting music projects.”​
Lorry O’Brien Dubois + Jackson Dubois
Westville, NY
 J: “I feel incredibly grateful to be hunkered down at a high point in my life, it could have happened at any time. I feel sadness for what the world is going through and that feels emotionally raw at times.”​
   J: “I am working from home. It’s been a bit of a challenge, many of my coworkers are laid off and that feels like a big responsibility.”​
   J: “I imagined having lots of time to work in the garden or on my house, but it really requires fairly strict time management to get anything done. I see the amount of work that this old place would have required as a farm without engines and primitive machinery.”​
Josh Cornish
Milford, NY
J: “I feel that isolation has been difficult because I like to socialize at SUCO with classmates and professors. I think the thing I miss most of all is hanging with friends although I have had a lot of board game nights recently, which have helped during the quarantine. I feel as though this has shown me that I could not take online classes and could not have done it without my professors.”​
    J: “Seem to have taken on more homework as the semester ended, which made it slightly more difficult but with my last final in the books I am glad to say the semester is over. I think that this has been difficult for both the students and the professors, but everyone has been virtually helpful through zoom in order to finish the semester. I have been fortunate too for having amazing classmates that have been able to be great support throughout this spring semester.”​
    J: “I have been filling my time with movies and great tv shows like Westworld. Most of the musicians I follow on Spotify have been busy putting out singles and new albums, which has been amazing for me. I have now been able to start planting earlier and have been able to get my garden ready and seedlings planted in our sunroom.”​
Katie + Dede Yerdon
Milford, NY
K: “During this time I am feeling uncertain, not knowing what the near future holds. I wonder if what was considered normal will ever be normal again in society. Personally, this has not affected me too much other than not seeing people I would see on a daily basis.”​
​K: “My job has been very cautious during this pandemic. Luckily, I have the opportunity to work from home and few days. I am also in school however my classes are online, so the pandemic did not affect my semester or future classes.”​
K: “The extra time I have throughout the day I have spent going through belongings downsizing. Being that I only have one semester left to finish my degree, I have been thinking about where I would like to adventure off and start a career. I been searching places of employment and housing in different areas down south.”​

D: “My feelings during this time could be described as changing.  As each day comes and goes there has been so many changes to my emotional being.  So many reasons for feelings to change at any given moment.  Stay positive, believe, have faith, and love myself is what I need at this moment.  Personally the effects on me, I feel so blessed to have my family and friends who are there for me when tears may flow, questions to be asked, looking for answers, just need a smile and encouraging words to help us survive whatever may come our way. My personal care for myself defineitly could be better.  I truly try to find the good in everything.”​
D: “This pandemic has affected my working world by putting not only a financial burdon on me but also emotional.  I am retired from being a teachers aid but continued my love for children by doing daycare.  I also house clean for people.  With social distancing I am unable to make money and enjoy the children.”​
D: “I am taking this time to do major downsizing in my home.  I must admit I’m thankful for having this time to go through and give things away to good homes.  I’ve been taking time to reach out to others to check in with them.  Let them know I care, and we are in this together.  I’m ready for some normal to return to our lives again.” ​
Molly Myers + Carl Loewenguth
Westville, NY
M: “I have been an emotional rollercoaster over the past few weeks. At the beginning of the quarantine I was feeling scared and lonely from the lack of socialization, but now I feel like my emotions have become somewhat numb and I don’t have a strong desire to socialize anymore. I think I have shut down a bit but have also adapted. “​
     M: “I am so fortunate to be able to work from home. Being a fundraiser and event planner for two museums, it has certainly made my job more challenging not knowing when or how our events might go on. The money I am able to raise for the museums directly impacts the staff having jobs, so it has been very stressful trying to continue to sensitively raise money while struggling with the trauma of this crisis personally.”​
    M: “Although I am working from home, I have also been able to work on several projects around my house as my anxiety from the COVID-19 situation was making me want to be busy all the time. I appreciate that I have had this extra time at home to paint rooms, reorganize things, and plant some seeds for veggies.” ​
Sebastian, Kerstin, Zoe, + Toby Green
Milford, NY
K: “I am not dealing with this very well. Although I know that we are incredibly lucky by comparison because even hough we are quarantining we have space here to go outside, move, ride bikes, go for runs and walks with our dogs. We can even drive to our nearby state park and walk on the beach along a beautiful lake.  Under these circumstances one would think that my mental health would be holding up, and rationally I feel as though it should. The reality is that I have been experiences severe anxiety attacks and worsening depression since schools were closed. The saying is, a parent is only as happy as their unhappiest child, and while my children are all healthy, they are all struggling with their own issues, depression, anxiety, uncertainty, and for a mother of 5 that means my own fears are compounded fivefold. Some days the anxiety seems out of control. Sunshine helps, and the past two days have been more manageable!” ​
       K: “I am director of a small private nursery school and kindergarten. We have been closed since Friday March 13th.  It has been very difficult trying to maintain connections with the 25 children. I immediately started a YouTube channel and within 10 days I had uploaded 75 stories, songs, finger games and action games for the children, so that they can hear them and participate in all their favorites from home. I hold daily zoom meetings during which we sing together, the children can chat with one another, share their favorite toys, pictures and crafts they’re working on. I read them a book every day, we play action games together and do yoga to get them moving. I think they are enjoying the routine and familiarity of the content, but I can see in their eyes that they are confused and somewhat sad by the distance. It is very hard for me to realize that, but I think the half hour each day is better than losing the community altogether. I also zoom a few times a week with my kindergarten class and I have been dropping off weekly work packets at this houses every Sunday evening.  I have been lending my families sanitized books, puzzles, toys and other resources from the school to help keep their children entertained at home.” ​
      K: “A couple of days ago, I was walking the dog and running through the endless list of things I could be doing, should be doing, should be glad to have time for, should be motivated to tackle, and questioning my utter inability to do anything. Then it struck me. I can’t do any of those other things, because I am not doing the ONE thing that I am MEANT to do. That I am made for. The one thing that energizes me, that keeps my heart pumping, makes me feel creative, purposeful, fulfilled, and that gives my life meaning. Without my children around me at Oak Hill, my days are hollow and feel meaningless. And when your days feel hollow and meaningless it’s very hard to read a book, dig a garden, craft, cook, you name it. Some might think, well all those other things would give your days meaning and purpose. Maybe so, but first I need to finish grieving the loss of all that I have spent my life building up and working on, which was there, under my nose 24/7/365 and now is gone.”​

Z: “I have been alternating between feeling overwhelmed and anxious and feeling positive and optimistic. Generally the weather has a large part to play in this, as the days that I am able to be outside in the sun I feel much better and forward looking.”​
     Z: “I lost my job at the restaurant I worked at due to COVID and the rest of my graduate school program was moved online. I finish next week, but the lack of in person classes has taken the thrill of the end of my school career.”​
    Z: “My finals and online classes have been filling my time. Outside of these, my brain has been exhausted and unable to focus on much else. I think that the anxiety and constant flood of news has taken up the rest of my brainpower.”​

T: “I’ve been feeling less stressed with school but more stressed with being unable to leave my house. The recent weather has helped with the cabin fever.”​
   T: “The rest of my school year was cancelled. My classes have been moved online but teachers aren’t expecting as much from the students.”  ​
   T: “I’ve been trying to pass time outside in the woods hiking and biking. When weather doesn’t permit, I try to be productive and clean or something else that can improve my state of living.”​

Karla Andela + Josh Simpson
Milford, NY
K:  “I’m feeling extremely grateful that I can work from       home and have a safe and loving home environment. I love being home so much, with my husband, my garden, studio, pets and kitchen. There are days when I forget to reach out to friends and feel lonely and down about the current situation. I’m also super sad for those impacted personally by COVID-19.”​
     K: “I am one of the few who still has a full-time job that I can do from home. It’s been tough to focus sometimes, but I’m getting better about maintaining a work schedule.”​
     K: “We defiantly spend more time watching shows in the evening. I would normally feel guilty about it, but I don’t! I’m baking note bread- really learning the language of sourdough! I spend more time in the garden- it’s a wonderful time.”​

J:  “I’ve been swinging between extremely worried about humanity and the future and extremely excited about humanity and the future. I’m hopeful that this pandemic will lead to folks creating better work life balance, connect more with people they love and to think in more global terms when it comes to how we need to take care of our planet. I have also felt supremely grateful that I have the privilege of working from home.”​
     J: “I was on partial unemployment for 3 weeks and as of 4/27/2020 my company received PPP funding and I am full time again. This pandemic has made me start to re-evaluate my life goals and I am planning on returning to college.”​
     J: “When I was working 3 days a week, I spent the other days reading books that I have been stacking up for years now. I have also been ripping through TV shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime at a steady clip. I’ve also taken the time to begin preparing our second building for a massive renovation that will include the creation of Karla’s pottery studio, a legit bathroom and a hangout space for me in the upstairs.”​
Sarah Fanion + Jake Hanlon
Cherry Valley, NY
S: “I’m an incredibly work focused human. Staying home every day with no real commitments continues to be frustrating. Finding the motivation to do anything when I have a full 24 hours a day has been challenging. I miss my normal routine with work and friends. I especially miss the freedom to socialize with other people.”​
S: “I was laid off in Friday the 20th of March. I’m not sure when I will be able to return. Thankfully, unemployment has helped me keep up with rent and necessities.”​
S: “I started by paining almost every room in the apartment. Then tv. So much tv. I’ve watched more shows this month  than I have in the past year. Since the weather has changed, I have been attempting to run.”, bike and exercise whenever I can. I haven’t done anything that I haven’t had the time for prior to quarantine.  I was, however, able to accomplish all my organizational and home improvement projects in a very short stretch of time.”​
Alyx Braunius
Mt. Vision, NY
 A: “I’ve been feeling a bit anxious and trapped. I’m a home body but also feel lonely not being able to see friends, family or being able to go anywhere. And feeling scared of not knowing what is to come. “​
    A: ” I am currently working from home and distance learning online but living somewhere where I’m not able to get internet makes that all very difficult.”​
    A: “Even though I’m working, I have a lot of extra time not driving and getting ready for work and I do a lot more yoga,  meditation, nature walks/runs and I’m reading books for the first time in my life without it being require me for school!” ​
Carden, Kai, + Jessica Phillips
Oneonta, NY
C: “A little upset because I don’t get to graduate from 5th and do the fun end of year things that 5th graders normally do.”​
​C: “It makes schooling harder because we don’t have teachers teaching how to do it… we are just expected to do work without much help.”​
​C: “I am able to do things I don’t have time to do normally.  I’m also able to do fun things that I want to do, like researching hamsters and playing ukulele.  I like spending more time with my animals and family.  I’m happy there is zoom and FaceTime so I can see friends.”​

K: “Bored, miss my friends, seems like more schoolwork than when we are in school.”​
K: “I don’t feel like I’m learning as well as before, do not like the zoom video classrooms.”​
 K: “Video games, walks, started working with video editing online for fun.”​
Milo Cowles, Elijah Rutledge, Jeremey Rutledge, + Melissa Sieffert
Westville, NY
J: “We have been feeling a general sadness during this time. Not only are we concerned about the spread of the virus, and the impact that it is having around the world, but we are struggling to adjust to the micro and macro changes everyone has had to make. Luckily, the worst thing to happen to us was our wedding being cancelled. We are missing the small things like going out to eat, seeing friends and family, and making plans for the future.”​
    J: “Our schooling has gone virtual, which has been an adjustment as many of our classes have strong discussion components that are more difficult to orchestrate via Zoom. My work as a TA has given me insight into how undergrads are dealing with the changes and I am happy to see so much resilience in the face of great difficulty.”​
    J: “When we are not doing schoolwork, we have been trying our hand at cooking new dishes, painting, and gardening. As the semester is coming to an end, and with the lack of usual distractions, we are finding ourselves with the time to reflect on life and ruminate on the future. We have also been talking to our families and friends much more, which has been a pleasant silver lining to the COVID-19 crisis.”​
Molly Feulner + Andrew Yerdon
Cherry Valley, NY
M: “I have been feeling so many things during this time.  Some days I feel productive at home and optimistic.  Having more time to do things and not feel rushed to squeeze everything into one day is something I am grateful for during this. It is nice to have time to relax and work through this.  Other days are harder, I feel bombarded with information about COVID-19 and everyone else’s feelings about the situation and things seem to spiral out of control quickly.  I’m a major worry wart and easily fall into anxious cycles. I’m trying not to dwell on this and realize that this is temporary. I guess it’s safe to say I’ve felt a spectrum of feelings.” ​
M: “Andrew and I work together as contractors and we have been able to do some small jobs outside for his mother who put her house up for sale just before the quarantine began.  We haven’t been able to work regularly, but with savings and not spending as much money on things like gas and going out we’ve been able to manage the bills so far.  School transitioned to online which hasn’t been hard, more disappointing honestly.  For both classes it was important to be on campus and together in a classroom.  I am taking Music of Film and was enjoying watching films together as a class and being able to discuss both music and film.  It wasn’t the same experience having this class online. My film photography class had to be switched to digital images, but this project blossomed from that and I will be grateful to have this in the end.  I hope that I gave some people a way to be a part of something during a time of isolation.  Andrew and I must make a hard decision about what to do about our wedding that is planned for August. It won’t be what we originally had planned.​
M: “I’ve been trying to spend my time at home by focusing on my personal well-being mainly.  We started doing Wim Hoff breathing exercises and cold showers as well as morning meditation, exercising in various ways, and trying to cook and bake more.  I also love origami and have been making lots of that and considering trying to start a small business sell my pieces.”

A: “During this time I am feeling a lot of things all at once it seems. The situation brings up strong emotions, both good and bad, mixed with uncertainty. I feel as though the quarantine has forced me to live and think more in the moment and I assume not knowing what the future has in store has initiated that.”​
     A: “My Job as a contractor has been effected greatly in that I have not been able to work consistently for about a month. When I can work even the simplicity of getting materials has become something stressful and that alone has deterred me from taking on work.”​
     A: “Since I haven’t been working, I’ve been able to fill my life with a lot the things I truly enjoy doing as well as learning and practicing new things such as meditation. I’ve been practicing drums and guitar more than ever. I’ve been able ride Mountain Bike everyday which has been something I was only able to do before or after a full day of work or on the weekend.”​
Michael Feulner
Cherry Valley, NY
Jackie Hull (Owner of A Rose Is A Rose)
Cherry Valley, NY
Ian Feulner
Cherry Valley, NY

I hope you all enjoy this project and continue to stay happy and healthy during this quarantine. It’s hard to know what the future will hold when this is all finished, but it’s easier knowing we’re all in it together. Stay positive and don’t forget to reach out to others for support! -Molly Jean Feulner

Let’s all become armchair medical anthropologists

As a medical anthropologist, I think about sickness (or health) as significantly a social and cultural experience. My perception at this moment is that while we are rightly concerned with addressing the virus (SARS-CoV-2) and the disease it causes (COVID-19), we have almost no control over the virus or over the course of the disease. Meanwhile, we are overlooking what we can do. We have the power to change our own behaviors, and I wish we as a public might turn our attention now to directing our efforts to reinventing our habits (and the conditions that enable or disable them) with the same urgency. That is the other part of what we need to do in order to “resume” lives that bear some resemblance to what we considered normal and ordinary before.

So many people have become armchair epidemiologists. I invite us to become medical anthropologists now 🙂

First, let’s start by valuing what we actively already have done: Those of us who have the privilege of doing so have made extraordinary changes by living in “lockdown” and “shelter in place” and adapting our activities to enable work and school from home. However, I think we all recognize this is only a temporary “stop” or “pause”–and at some point later I want to dwell on the language and metaphors of this moment.

Next, let’s recognize that culture and social change are as important and necessary to live through and beyond this moment as a vaccine against the virus and medical therapies for the disease. I’ve been thinking the responses around the AIDS pandemic might provide models for what needs to happen next. Obviously, HIV and SARS-CoV-2 are quite different—and in fact, SARS-CoV-2 is much more contagious! Consider, however, that we have no vaccine for HIV, but we have widespread availability of (free) testing; safe and efficacious therapies that enable HIV+ individuals to live otherwise healthy; and most importantly, changes in cultural attitudes and norms and social behaviors that prevent or at least minimize the risk of infection. These required a lot of activism and campaigning, but they happened. We have not eradicated HIV/AIDS, and infection is still a threat, but we have made considerable strides to contain it, and it is not the plague and death sentence it once was.

A quick note for now: Changing our habits is likely as hard (or even harder) than controlling the virus–I’m not suggesting culture change is easier than virology because I think there’s a lot of evidence that people themselves are as stubborn as their sicknesses–but at least it’s in our power to do it.

gas stations

There are still a fair amount of people who are not following social distancing, nor the new law about mask requirements. Gas stations are where I see the most variation in rule followers. Tonight I saw someone walk up to the door at Stewart’s, see the sign that said a mask was required to enter and proceeded to turn around and return to their car. I still don’t think people believe that all of this is helping anything, and with that mentality, they’re part of why there is not better progress being made.

– Nadia Boyea

Measuring a month

Wake, walk, eat, work; work, walk, eat, sleep.  Wake in the middle of the night, work, sleep. Wake, walk.

Days and weeks have blurred together. If I didn’t keep a calendar filled with reminders for “dept mtg”, “sr sem presentations”, “J b-day”, I wouldn’t know, is it Monday or Friday, already May or still mid-March? (Doesn’t help, that the sky continues to spit sleet.) And if I didn’t also fill the calendar with memories of “rainbow”, “first forsythia”, “forget-me-nots”, I wouldn’t know, has time actually passed, anything happened other than the odd progression of the semester, the escalating panic of the news, the accumulating silence?

I’m perfectly accustomed to spending long stretches of time on my own, but voluntarily, on backpacking trips through far-flung, wild corners of the country. Disorienting, now, to be stuck pacing the same sidewalks and streets, surrounded by people, all shuttered in their homes or sealed in their cars. On rare sunny days, it’s reassuring to see others out jogging in the parks or biking down the trails. But when it’s raining (or sleeting), I walk through a ghost city, sidewalks to myself.

There’s still the wildlife. Most of my calendar notes consist of weather or wildlife-spottings. Killdeer by Corning (4/16), beaver by the golf course (4/25), barred owl in Wilber Park (4/17), common mergansers in Neahwa (4/24). Bald eagle by the West End wetland, eagle along the river, eagle in the cemetery; eagle over the Price Chopper parking lot, infiltrating a kettle of vultures (4/29). Woodchucks everywhere – a grand one-day tally of six. Stopped counting the ravens and crows scavenging deer and squirrels from the roadsides. Dead porcupine after dead porcupine after dead porcupine, 4/7, 4/10, 4/28. (With less traffic, how is there still so much roadkill? As if there isn’t enough sorrow in the world right now.)

The eagles, in particular, bring a feeling of fierce joy, a welcome reminder of perseverance and recovery. There’s one that likes to perch above the railroad tracks, out River Street Access Road, next to the highway. I visit it nearly every afternoon; it lets me stand and watch it, while red-winged blackbirds swoop at it in distress and cars continue to whiz down the highway. After 5 or 10 minutes, I usually get tired or it gets bored; we go on with our lives. Fly away. Walk, work, eat, sleep.

If the forsythia and forget-me-nots aren’t enough of a clue, the calendar tells me we’re nearing the end of the semester. The best advice I have, at a time like this; especially at a time like this; always? Even if it’s sleeting, go for a walk. Watch for eagles. Brake for porcupines.

surreal but very real

“In the rush to get back to normal, use this time to decide which parts of normal are worth rushing back to”

dave hollis

The only word I have to describe our current situation is surreal. I recall talking about the corona virus in my classes before spring break. We thought nothing of it. Then we all leave for break and enter our own little worlds away from college. I myself was 12 hours away from Oneonta, not thinking about responsibilities, family, or school and certainly not a virus. I was totally present in enjoying my spring vacation at the beach and playing ultimate. But on the last day of the tournament, we start sticking our heads into the real world and find out that COVID-19 is serious and the college might be shutting down. My teammates and I were trying to wrap our heads around what was happening. We were so separated from what was going on that it felt like we were in a simulation. While we lived out the last few days of freedom, we weren’t thinking that the world would be like it is right now. We were just trying to enjoy the warm weather and time with our friends to do whatever.

The next few days felt like a movie. Coming out of the best week of the year to having an extended break was like Christmas came early. But the joy didn’t last long before panic and fear set in. Everyone was trying to figure out where they were staying for the rest of the semester. There were so many questions that didn’t have answers. After driving 12 hours back to Oneonta, I was picked up by my parents the very next day and brought home. We packed up my dorm and said goodbye in less than an hour. One could’ve said we were on the run and it would be moments before we were found. You didn’t know that this would be the last time you saw someone for a while, you didn’t know that this would be the last of many lasts for a while or forever.

The next couple of weeks were disorienting and confusing. All you wanted to do was go out and about, or work, or see your friends, and the world is telling you no, you’re not allowed. Being someone who was having social interaction 20/7 to only seeing my family for the next who knows how long, was taking a toll on my mental, emotional, and physical health. It’s frustrating and you want to blame someone but who is there to blame? The measures that have been taken are said to be unnecessary but are they really? These are lives we are talking about! It’s difficult to understand but 6 feet apart is for protection. Sure you may not think you have it, but how would you know? What if you do have it, you can easily infect every single person you come in contact with and every person who comes in contact with something you touched? The reality of this disease is so abstract and abnormal that people don’t want to believe it but its real. Very, very real.

I don’t think a lot of people, especially in the beginning, entered reality. For many, this was something that would pass in a month, this was something that wasn’t affected them directly so it didn’t truly exist. But just because we are not face to face with COVID-19, it is very much a serious situation. People are still stuck in coming to terms with how their lives have changed and how all the measures that have been taken are for the good of the people. Until people stop focusing on the individual and start thinking about surviving this together, our world will remain in this state.

It is okay to have all the feelings. Frustration, sadness, depression, anxiety, fear. But also have happiness, love, excitement, pride, enjoyment. Accepting that this is how the world is at the moment and everyone is doing their best or should be doing their best during these times is so important. We can’t let ourselves get sucked into our negative emotions. Feel them, sit in them, but don’t let them consume you. Life has already been turned upside down, but you’re still alive, you’ve still got your future, so live your days for the ones you will have when this is over. Plan like you would if we were’t living in a pandemic and know that you may have to adjust those plans, but at least if you’re given the green light, you get to do what you were looking forward to do.

Once the light turns green, it’s so important to remember what it felt like to have your life turned upside down so quickly. We should focus on the problems that are actually serious. We should be grateful for the ones who stayed by our side through this all and be thankful for everything that we have. Yeah we want to get back to our old lives, but the world is changed permanently and it’s important to de-clutter ourselves so that we’re focusing on the parts that are worth the time, energy and resources that we put in.

WILD LIFE

The Groundhog in action

WILD LIFE

There are certain moments when you realize that everything you always assumed about the natural world was wrong. I knew that the pandemic had really changed things when I saw a massive furry beast in my backyard. A few mornings ago, I opened our downstairs blind and saw a groundhog the size of a small dog calmly staring back at me less than ten feet away. In the bright sunlight it was having a nice breakfast by eating our grass and back garden. Though the sight of this intruder was unusual, its attitude was what was most striking. It barely blinked but instead eyed me with a calm, even superior gaze. Our small fenced in backyard has always hosted cats, squirrels and birds. However, since  we live in the heart of the city of Oneonta and are less than 3 minutes’ walk from Main Street, the call of nature is usually muted for us. On ordinary mornings as we rush about to get ready for work, any groundhogs are hidden. They prefer to wait for nighttime to forage. Animals consciously avoid my family’s frenetic morning routine as we heave our bags and backpacks into the van to speed to work and take our daughter to school. However, now wildlife has taken over.

When I look for items online to update myself on news about the pandemic, I often come across similar out of kilter animal images on my computer screen: Mountain goats quietly strolling through empty village streets; bears checking out dogs with nary a human to intervene; lions having a nice mid-day nap on paved roads in Africa. What does it mean?  The animal kingdom, previously cowed by a loud and visible human presence, has been emboldened. As humans scurry into cover and hide indoors, the outdoors has changed.

When I was young, there was a powerful animated film I saw called Watership Down. As memory serves, it was about rabbits endangered by the encroachments of human development. Cars were lethal weapons to the rabbits. Bulldozers threatened their burrows. Man was out to conquer nature. Wildlife would be tamed. The animals’ arcadia was to be destroyed. Many precious rabbits died. I cried childhood tears as I watched the film. This theme has been repeated in many other stories and films, but it seems to be on hold for the moment. The pandemic has shown that humans are not always all powerful. It has shown that nature can reconfigure the lives of humans and beasts.

There is one final thing that my moment with the groundhog taught me. We have always assumed that we had the freedom to go anywhere. We had machines and large brains. Animals had to adapt to us.  We watched them and they hid from us. The pandemic has flipped the script. Now we hide and they watch us. Perhaps the wild ones were the wise ones all along.

April 4
Dear Diary,
I woke up feeling sick. The sickest I have been in a long time, and I didn’t even realize it. I had
chills the whole morning, and my mom checked my temperature and saw I had a fever. I had to
go to the hospital. Thankfully, within a day or two, I got better. I did not have the dreaded virus.
I’m just happy I’m healthy and safe at home with my family.
April 8
Well here’s some good news. I got an opportunity to do some acting during this time of
distance learning. My friend Stephen is a senior student, and he is studying theater. He is taking
a directing class, and he asked me if I wanted to be in a short 2-3-minute scene. We would have
only a few only rehearsals through Zoom and then record the final performance. I felt honored
that he thought of me. So, I accepted the opportunity. I am not going to be on a big stage, but
just to be able to act again makes me happy—even if is a short scene. Rehearsals start next
week.
April 12
Happy Easter! It feels strange to be at home for Easter because I usually visit family. I miss all
my aunts, uncles, and cousins, and I just wonder every day how they are holding up during all of
this. My mom made roasted chicken for dinner and my sister helped her make pumpkin pie for
dessert. It was a great meal, yet I wished we were at a larger gathering.
April 13
I’m not sure what number week we are up to in distance learning, and I am too lazy to check
my previous diary entries to find the answer. I was a little sad today because this week would
have been tech week for Once Upon a Mattress. Tech week rehearsals are the last few
rehearsals before opening night and the cast would get to wear costumes and mics. I wish I was
at school with my friends getting ready for the show, but it was for the best that we were asked
to stay home. I still talk to my friends and check up on them. I think it’s very important to do
that in a time like this.
April 14
Today was my first Zoom rehearsal for Stephen’s directing class. One of the actors in the scene,
Gillian, was a friend I made during Once Upon a Mattress. It was nice seeing her again. The
rehearsal went well. I just need to read over the script and go over my lines.
April 15
Today would have been opening night for Once Upon a Mattress. I wish we could have been at
school today and put on our show. I really miss all my friends.
April 16
Once quarantine is over, I want to go to the movie theater. I miss going to the movies. I’m
trying to find new movies to watch on Netflix or on HBO. So, I decided to watch Alien on HBO.
My dad watched it again recently, and he said it was still a great movie. It was so scary. I had so
many jump scares. But you know what, I loved the movie. The story was great, and I loved the
character of Ellen Ripley. She was very smart and an awesome movie hero. I plan to watch
Aliens tomorrow. Also, today was the first day I could register for classes, but I could not
register for some of my education classes. Yes, I want to be a teacher when I grow up. I just
hope I will still be on track for my degree.
April 17
Wow Aliens is even better than Alien! I love the characters in this one. It might even be more
intense than Alien. Ripley is better in this movie because she is tough, and she is also very
protective of a young girl that she found all alone. The final showdown with Ripley and the
Queen Alien is one of the most awesome action scenes I have ever seen in a movie. Aliens is
now one of my favorite movies. Also, I am trying to find roommates for next semester, and it’s
been difficult. Hopefully I find some soon.
April 18
I’m doing some schoolwork on this lovely Saturday. I am almost done writing a research paper
for my composition class. I have been working on it for 3 weeks now. It will feel great when I
submit it. I am also trying to catch up on calculus homework. I cannot believe we are getting
close to reaching the end of the school year. It still seems so far away, but I am looking forward
to it
April 19
I feel like I should read more books, but I have not made time to do that. I decided to read The
Martian by Andy Weir. I saw the movie version with Matt Damon, and I thought that movie was
great. It had a very pro-science message, and I just loved the creativity Matt Damon’s character
had in order to survive on Mars. Also, he found himself facing adversity, but his optimism never
wavered. I think this is very inspiring and something we should all try to aspire to especially
considering what’s going on in the world with the Coronavirus. Anyways, I hear the book is
better than the movie. I am hoping to finish the book by June. Wish me luck!
April 20
I am not a fan of Mondays, but today was an awesome Monday. I had my Monday Mask and
Hammer meeting, and we were holding elections for a new E-board. I wanted to be able to
participate in the voting, but I needed to be a voting member, and I needed to earn a certain
amount of points to become a voting member. I accumulated points throughout the semester
by helping in front of the house by ushering, sitting in the box office, and managing the
concession stand. I was in the ensemble for Once Upon A Mattress, but the show was
cancelled. I thought I did not earn enough points to become a voting member. Then the vice
president of the club, Sabrina, told me that the current E-board decided to waive the
completion requirement for voting membership points. As a result, I was able to count my role
in the ensemble for points. I still needed 2 points to meet the 15-point requirement, and
Sabrina said people in the club have directing classes and are looking for people to be in their
scenes. Then I remembered that I was involved in a directing scene with Stephen. Once I told
her this, she said I have officially become a voting member. I could nominate other voting
members for E-board positions, and I was even allowed to nominate myself. I decided to run for
the position of Box Office Manager, but I did not win that position. Right after that, we were
going to elect the new secretary, and to my shock, someone nominated me for the position. I
was not sure if I wanted the position, but my heart was telling me to take this opportunity. It is
better to take a chance at something like this than not taking a chance at all. I talked about why
I should be elected. I mentioned how joining the club was the best decision I have made, and I
enjoyed helping the club. I wanted to take a bigger part in getting involved in the fall, and I felt
being on the E-board would be the best way to do that. I was the youngest candidate, while the
other two candidates were seniors. The other candidates and I were kicked out of the Zoom
chat, so the other voting members could discuss who would be the best fit for secretary. Being
an incoming sophomore, I recognized that I was the underdog in this situation. I told myself
that if I do not get the position, I have a lot of opportunities to run for the position next time.
The candidates were all invited back to the Zoom chat, and the first words I heard were
“Congratulations, Julian!” My jaw dropped because I did not expect to get the position. All I
could do was express my thanks because I genuinely was thankful. I was so excited to be on the
E-board with some wonderful people taking the other positions. The day only got better from
there. I am in another club, the Apollo Music Club, and it is also performance related. I did a
concert version of the show Hair back in January, and it was so much fun. We had Zoom
meeting today to discuss our plans for next semester. We were planning to do a concert version
of the show Spring Awakening, which everyone was very excited about. We are hoping to do
the show after Thanksgiving rather than wait until January like we did with Hair. But the best
part about the meeting was that I got to see friends that I have not seen since the pandemic
started. I really miss my friends, and I am hoping we will be back in school to do all these great
activities that I mentioned, such as getting involved on a club E-board and doing a show. This
was a long entry, but that’s because it was such a great day and I needed to write about
everything that happened.
April 21
So, I finally found a roommate group. I plan to live with a sophomore I know named Brett and
senior named Daniel. Daniel said he needed to stay on campus for his final year. I am do not
remember what he said exactly, but that’s what he said. He reached out to Brett a day after I
asked Brett if we could be roommates. We wanted to look for more people to be in our group,
but the people we asked already were already in a roommate group. So, we decided to settle
for living in a triple. Daniel decided to be the group leader, and he sent Brett and me invitations
to accept so we can be in the roommate group. We accepted the invitations, and our
roommate group was officially verified. We still need to pick our room next week, but I am just
happy that I do not need to worry about finding roommates.
April 22
This entry is very late in the night. I was ready to go to sleep, and my friends started texting me.
We were in a group chat for the Apollo Music Club. Freshmen who were interested in joining
the club were added to the group chat. The new students were Luna, Robert, Ellie, and
Alexandra. They showed so much enthusiasm and were excited to sing and be a part of the
shows the club was planning for next semester. I cannot wait to meet these new members in
person.
April 23
So today I was able to register for the education class that was originally closed. My schedule is
complete. I have Mondays and Fridays free. I only have my Calculus III class on Wednesday. On
Tuesday and Thursday, I have four classes. I take Adolescent Growth and Development at 8:30
in the morning. Then at 10 I take my elective class History of Rock Music. I chose this class as an
elective because rock is my favorite genre of music, and I thought it would be an interesting
class to take. Right after that, I have my Calc III class. Then, I don’t have another class until 4:00,
which is Probability and Statistics. That is my last class of the day on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
April 26
I had to watch a movie for my European History class called The Lives of Others, and I thought it
was an excellent film. I thought the story was very compelling, and I feel the performances
really stayed with me. I am glad my teacher introduced it to me.
April 27
Today I finished rehearsals for Stephen’s directing assignment. I was very happy how the scene
turned out. I had so much fun helping Stephen with his assignment. It reminded me of how
much I missed performing and theater in general.
April 28
Today is the last day of classes. All I need to do is take my finals. I hope they go well. This will be
my last entry. I miss my friends. I miss being at school. I miss giving my parents hugs. I miss
eating out. I miss going out to the movie theater. There are so many things I miss. I hope that
this virus will pass soon.

Life at home

The quarantine has been especially hard for me and my family. It started out with not being able to go to the store, then it turned into not being able to go anywhere, not even to my fiance’s house. After about a week of being in quarantine, my grandma gave us the news that her cancer had come back. She had full intentions of getting chemotherapy and attending my wedding in the summer of 2021. She wanted to fight her cancer until she landed in the hospital because of her cancer. While there, she could not have any visitors and she, along with the nurses and doctors, had to wear a mask. She was so scared and wanted to come home. After running a few tests, they let her come home and two days after that, she went to her chemotherapy appointment. She was scared to go, scared to go through chemotherapy for the second time within less than five years. She asked the doctor some questions while there and realized she could not go through it again. The side effects were too scary, potentially enough to kill her after just one dose. She decided, being 81, that she would rather spend her last days with her family. It has been three weeks now that she has been in Hospice at home. My family and I have been helping her all day and every day. She is so grateful for us and she is so happy she lived a full life with love and happiness. I know the end is coming for her and I am so scared. I wanted her to be at my wedding and I did not see this coming. I tried on her wedding dress, along with my mother’s and my aunt’s, just so she could feel like she was a part of it all. She told me although she won’t be there in person, she will still be there. I hope that is the truth, I hope I will be able to feel her presence. I can’t wait for this virus to be over, for me to finish grieving over my grandma, and for things to get back to normal. I pray for that day.

A new perspective

Last week, I posted an update to this blog called “Quarantine Quietness”. I talked about how I had been going crazy trying to keep myself occupied while living in Oneonta alone. Since then, one of my housemates decided to move back in and quarantine with me. Upon her arrival, I noticed a dramatic change in my mental state and I now have someone to be crazy with. From dying hair crazy colors to playing guitar hero until 2 am, I am so grateful to have her back.

End of the semester worries

Keep my mask by my keys

As the semester comes to an end, I am grateful to soon be finished with online classes. However, uncertainty makes me fearful. Quarantine had been difficult even with keeping busy with school work, but now that is ending and I still do not have a job. I fear for the days to come until places open up and I can get one. What will I do? How will I keep myself busy and out of bed?

I worry about getting a job during these times. Having a compromised immune system and struggling every day with my health, what job could I possibly hold?

Times of uncertainty are difficult to face. As of now, I look forward to life being back to normal soon and enjoy getting outside as much as I can.

Until then, this is our new normal.

20 Years in 2 weeks

The last twenty years of my career at the College were spent, in part, participating in putting in place the resources to teach online. Not always an easy or valued thing. SUNY Oneonta, with good reason, prides itself as a quality, traditional, teaching institution. Teaching online was mostly viewed with skepticism.

You can imagine then that after twenty years I watched (from the safety of retirement) with sympathy as everyone went to online learning in just two weeks. Not just the students and faculty, but support systems like the library, student tutoring, registration, student advisement, etc. Stunning really and as some would say, tragically ironic. It is almost by chance that the pieces for online learning were left intact allowing the campus to continue to offer courses during the pandemic. It is also a testament to the entire campus community they were able to pull this off.

April 27, 2020

April 27, 2020

Yesterday we got through a lot of boxes from my grandpa’s house, but we still have a lot to go through! When I came downstairs today to eat, I was so proud of all the work we got done yesterday! I still am trying to figure out good recipes with low saturated fat. I think this quarantine really helped me figure out things about myself. I hope it doesn’t last to much longer.

home life

Hello everyone, my name is Molly Feulner. I’m fairly new to the Oneonta family, I returned to school last fall after an absence of five years to finish my degree in Fine Arts. My focus is photography so I wanted to share with you my documentation of this time. This series of self portraits show how I have been spending my time in isolation. I have started a larger project I will share when I have completed it.

I’ve experienced lots of ups and downs through this time. On the one hand I do have introvert tendencies, so spending lots of time at home doesn’t bother me very much. I find it easy to fill my time with hobbies that I enjoy and normally don’t have that much time for. On the other hand not being able to spend time with friends in my home or theirs, going to the grocery store and the gas station have become incredibly stressful things for me. I have had pneumonia a number of times in my short life and truly fear contracting this disease and becoming gravely ill. It’s a strange feeling being pulled in both directions, longing for my friends and families company while also fearing being around anyone.

April 26, 2020

Maggie McCann || April 26th, 2020

I gave myself a haircut this morning. I should’ve gotten one when I got home from school, I needed one desperately so I did it myself, checking off all the boxes on quarantine bingo this week, I’ve made at least five new kinds of cocktails this past weekend, I cut and bleached my hair, I’ve stayed in my house over 48 hours, it feel so incredibly normal now I’ve completely stopped being aware how long weve been quarantined its been weeks since I’ve left my house past my backyard.

I have a week left of classes, finals start tomorrow I’m not sure what life’s going to look like when I have no classes, my mom said me and my sister might be able to start working with her again at her job, we’d be going in to help clear our the office since they payed out their lease while no ones been going in. anything is better than the alternative of completely unscheduled days for an undetermined amount of time, no amount of arts and crafts could fill up that many days.

April 26, 2020

April 26, 2020

Today my dad made me blueberry pancakes and they were so good! I also slept so good last night, and I don’t know why. I woke up so happy. I hope today my whole family helps clean. Cleaning is not a daily thing for my family, so our house is really gross, and I like things clean. The only way our house gets clean is if I say we got to clean it. I think it is the perfect time to clean since we are in quarantine.

April 25, 2020

April 25, 2020

Today I woke up late and showered. For the rest of the day I helped my mom clean up the dinning room. Tomorrow we want to clean the living room and then our front porch. We have all my college stuff and my grandpa’s stuff just sitting around and it really needs to get cleaned up.

April 24, 2020

Maggie McCann || April 24th, 2020

Not much has been going on, I wake up, go to online classes, practice some guitar and hang around on tiktok, youtube, reading until 8 when I either skype with Ryan or watch TV with my family.

Waking up this morning was a bit different though, around 6am I was half awake I probably would’ve went right back to sleep but the loudest and fastest fly I have EVER encountered started flying over my head I’ve never woke up so quickly at 6am I spent a god 30 minutes trying to find it in my room and once I did I couldn’t manage to kill it . It chased me out of my room I slept the next two hours on the couch downstairs. That’s the most exciting thing hats happened all week.

Another Thursday…

Hey readers! LOL. I like imagining I have a ton of fans out there reading my posts. I’m posting kind of late at night, but I spent all day doing school work. I was talking to a friend yesterday and she said something I thought was very relatable. She said, “It feels like there’s more work now, then there was when we were at school.” I absolutely agree! I feel like I had so much more free time back in Oney! I was super stressed today, though, not only from school work, but also from real life problems. I gotta figure out what I’m gonna do for summer work. Bills keep coming and no one gives 2 f***s about people struggling financially in this epidemic. I don’t really curse a lot, I cringe when I do, but I get so mad/frustrated sometimes and it slips out. This may be a long entry, but I just gotta vent. Anyway, back to bills and financial stress. My mom got laid off also because of this epidemic. My dad’s the only one working right now. I’m concerned because she’s been dipping into her savings for rent. Sometimes, I wanna cry out of frustration for how helpless I feel. I know crying is not weakness, and I respect those who can show their emotions in front of people, that’s bravery. Unfortunately, crying doesn’t fix anything, though, so if I were to cry I would just feel useless and I probably wouldn’t be able to stop, honestly. Haha, probably TMI, oh well! I didn’t get to work out today, I think that may be why I have so much negative vibes. I haven’t smoked in over two months and times like these I could really use a smoke on the roof. It’s something me and my housemates used to do back in Oney. I can’t smoke when I’m home:/ Life’s a struggle, but oh well. Anyway, I’ve also been really stressed because I’m gonna be a senior next year and I AM NOT READY TO GROW UP. I used to have a plan. My plan was I would graduate high school, go to college, major in psych, graduate college with some kind of honors, go straight into the Peace Corps about a month or two after, then go to grad school and then figure out what to do with my life. It’s crazy that life really doesn’t go the way you plan, no matter how hard you try staying on track. I don’t want to do the Peace Corps anymore. I would like to help people, but I’m afraid of growing up, honestly. Well, I’ll write another entry on my future life plans after this, for now I will vent. I have come to the conclusion that me and my brother will have to get jobs ASAP and my mother can stay and watch my sister. I am also very stressed because I had bought a car from a random person before this s**t happened and now I can’t even drive it around because I was never able to register it and switch the license plates and change the title. I’m stressed because I keep getting this thought in the back of my head ‘what if I bought a stolen car?? and the guy just ran off with the money???’ I’m a little nervous because even though this sounds cocky, I am never wrong, even when I wish I was. I have a sixth sense of knowing everything, and it’s a blessing and a curse. Okay, I’m gonna move on, I hate talking about my problems. It’s pointless, if no one’s gonna solve them for me. Side note: I am not a negative Nancy, I’m only negative in my mind and I’m typing literally as I think. Also, I had some revelations I’ll share in my next entry, this one’s already super long.

future thoughts…

So, last time, on TOTAL. DRAMA. ISLAND! Hahaha, that was a good show. Anyway, so I’ve had tons of time to think in this quarantine, one of my least favorite things to do because I feel like I over do it, about my future. I used to have a plan, as I said before, but just now I was talking with my brother, he doesn’t know it but he’s low key my best friend, and I think I came up with a plan for my future that I am content with at the moment. First, though, let me just say I hate that at 20/21 I have to decide what I want to do for the rest of my life. I feel like I am still an infant and should have more time to decide my future. I think people are forced to decide their futures way too early. Okay, so that’s off my chest, My plan is to graduate from college this upcoming year, hopefully having accomplished something or at least having 2 jobs. Then, I am planning to move to Massachusetts and work and live there for about a year or two and then go to grad school there. Ideally, I would like to be working in something that will eventually, either pay for me to go to grad school or support having flexible hours so that I can balance grad school and work. The only problem is that it always comes down to what do I wanna do for the rest of my life. I hate committing to something because then I feel like I’m trapped and I don’t like that feeling. I wanna do something that makes me happy and makes me want to wake up in the morning to go to work, but I would also really like to do something that pays me to help others. However, I would also like to get paid a decent amount of money so I can afford to buy the things I’ve dreamed about since I was a child. Unfortunately , I can’t have everything. I wonder if there are students reading this thinking, damn this girl needs serious help. HAHAHA. I crack myself up. I had a thought earlier, totally unrelated to this. What if, when we yawn it’s our soul screaming and when we suppress our yawns, you know how our eyes “reflexively” water? Well, it’s actually our bodies crying because we don’t listen to our souls/inner selves or whatever. But people didn’t like this and didn’t want others to know so they made up the whole thing about yawns being for oxygen to the brain and science-y stuff. I swear I’m not high, I just have random thoughts. Then I was thinking of the guy in the portrait in The Good Place, S1:E1 or E2. Well, this was slightly shorter than the last, I think. I should be doing my work….

Introduction…

Hey! This is my second entry, probably a little late for intros, but better late than never! My name is Cecille Ruiz. I am from Hudson, NY (the cutest little city in Eastern New York). Well, I guess I will tell you a little about myself, so you can understand my point of view. My favorite colors are blue and pink just like cotton candy. I worked two jobs on campus, back when we were still on campus. I miss my jobs, sometimes. I prefer working in real life as opposed to this whole virtual reality life I feel like I’m in. I hope things go back to normal soon. I went for a walk the other day with my family to get some food. This lady was also walking up the street and she said “I think you all should be walking in a single file line.” There’s four of us, by the way. We were so shocked we all stood there staring at her confused. LOL. We were in such shock we didn’t know what to say. We all stood there staring back at each other, I think she was waiting for us to move first. LOL. I laugh every time I think back to this. We just left because we didn’t know what to say, but then later we thought of a bunch of funny things. That was off topic, but I don’t really know what to say. I have so much I want to say, but I have no idea where to start. Oh, by the way, I am Mexican, 20 years old ( I turn 21 in JUNE!), I do have white skin, though, so don’t picture any stereotypes. I have two loving parents, and two younger siblings and my major is Psychology. I can’t wait for summer! I love the warmth of the sun on my face. Okay, well, that’s all I can think of. I will keep you updated when I think of more things to say. Ciao!

What day is it?

I feel like days keep on passing by. I try to do stuff like work out or read a book and keep up with my school work, but nothing interesting is happening. I call my friends and we just talk about how online school sucks, the things we do to attempt to stay busy, and the boredom we face every single day. I feel like the day happens and I am not present for it. I’m not dissociating or anything, but nothing feels productive or rewarding. A day starts and ends, but nothing has changed. The only thing that does change is the news gets worse. President Trump keeps lying to himself and the country saying it will be over soon. Last month he said it would be done by Easter, I don’t think many people believed him. Recently, he stopped putting money into WHO, but he never listened to scientists if they disagree with him , so it is no surprise (example: the mess he made of EPA). I heard today that the UK said they would have social distancing in place until the end of the year!!! That feels like forever away. But there is no vaccine or cure for COVID-19 so until those arrive there really is no guarantee any of this will end soon. I think by the end of this the entire world will be depressed. -Kelly T.

April 23, 2020

April 23, 2020

Today I was talking to my boyfriend all day. I was having some family issues and I didn’t really want to talk to them, so I was talking to him. He lives far away to so I won’t get to see him until after quarantine ends. I also got money back from Oneonta and my mom was expecting way less so we are happy with that. I can’t wait to go back to school.

last week

This past week I was out in my car and outside for a walk. Cars still passed by somewhat frequently, but there were certainly not as many people out in the towns I drove through. It snowed overnight one night and that felt very fitting for the mood, even though it’s April. The day before the snow, it felt bitter and dreary and gloomy out, like you knew the snow was coming. Unlike the snow, we didn’t know that all of this was about to happen to us. All we can do is take it day by day and hope for the best outcome.

Nadia Boyea

April 22, 2020 Earth Day

Maggie McCann || April 22nd, 2020

Its earth day! Finally something to celebrate! After my Environmental Sustainability class this semester I’ve learned way more about how to take better care of the planet. We don’t use plastic bottles or straws at my house, we just planted a garden for spring. We don’t have a lot of clean energy though, our house is mostly gas and electric powered from a grid, my future house is definitely going to be solar powered, I’m trying to get my parents to stop using fertilizers and weve started composting. I really want to keep up learning how to preserve the environment. Especially being in New York and having the Staten Island beaches to clean up there’s a lot I can do.

Its been another slow day at home, I’ve been doing a lot more painting, I spent a few hours today after classes painting mushrooms for whatever reason, I saw a pretty painting of mushrooms on Pinterest last night and I’ve been thinking about it all day so I did some of my own. Once classes are over I’m going to be doing a lot more crafts and practicing guitar, it’ll be really weird not to have any deadlines, I cant remember the last time I didn’t have something due. I cant tell if it will be nice or I’ll go insane.

April 22, 2020

April 22, 2020

Today I finished my scientific article and I am really proud of it. I still need to add more detail and proofread it but I have never done something like that, so I am really happy with it. My parents went to the store again and they told me that they couldn’t find a lot of the things that they were looking for which means a lot of people are shopping. That is kind of scary to think about that stores are running out of products faster. I hope this doesn’t last to much longer.

pandemic Diaries

By: Christina Avana, April 2020

DAY 1

A Pandemic, something I have not experienced in my life before, well at least that I would be able to remember detail by detail forever.  While the events on 9/11 happened when I was born, so I didn’t experience it first hand, I know that many lives were taken and effected by this.  Looking back, I thought that that was the worst thing that could happen.  Until now…  While I am not making light of 9/11 and this is an awful time in the history of the United States, we knew from where this stemmed.  This, the Coronavirus is something that we cannot see, unknown, uncharted territory. As being 19 and able to understand, what am I to understand? One day I am up at school getting ready for Spring break, and the next, I am quarantined in my home, with my family.

DAY 2

Nonstop news about the coronavirus.  Not enough information.  Where did it come from, who caused it, all speculation?  The Chinese Virus it’s called.  Something created in China and effected the whole world.  How can something affect the World?  A Global pandemic.  What am I to do with these words?  I am not alone.  Everyone is asking the same question with no answer.  This is not my fault; I cannot control the outcome of this.  Is this the fate of the world?

It’s spreading, Italy has over 60 cases reported in a 24-hour timeframe.  People are dying all over.  Sadness, gloom, despair, depression is setting in.  If people are dying there in these great numbers, what is happening here. It’s bad here, but not with that kind of numbers.  It’s coming, something bad, something worse.  Grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters, their dying.  Is this an apocalypse?  The end of the human race?  This is like watching a movie.  Unreal, a sense of loneliness.  I can’t explain, it. People are here in my house; how can I be lonely?

Coronavirus is shutting down schools. Schools are now closed possibly for the remainder of the semester.  Online classes are to begin soon.  What will that be like.  It’s hard to a have classes with no personal interaction at least for me.  The tensions are mounting, the pressure is building and I do not like feeling this way.  Can’t get my work done with all the distractions.

DAY 3

My parents are wearing masks and gloves when they go in and out the stores.  Sometimes they get what they need and sometimes not. Supermarkets, are working around the clock to keep shelves stocked as people are buying as if they are building a panic room or bomb shelters.  There is no toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer and Lysol around.  The shelves are empty.  Panic buying and people hoarding add stress to trip to the grocery store.  For now, my parents seem to get what they need and aside from eating take out or making different foods, we are making due with what we have in the house and are not starving.  I really believe that this will not come to pass.  There is plenty of food in this world and I would really be surprised if we run out.  Thank goodness for farmers.

DAY 4

My parents are in a state of disarray.  Calm to the eye, but chaos inside.  My family owns a transportation company, which now seems to be the forgotten industry as people are putting it.  No work, no money, nothing is coming in. Quarantined in the house full of crazy people.  A brother that shows no concern, a sister is more concerned over eating and tie-dying her clothing than anything, a mother that is on the phone calling no one that answers and a father than plays games on the computer all day and sleeps the day away.  Easy way for forget what’s going on.

DAY 5

Social distancing, this is new.  You have to keep space between yourself and other people. They recommend stay at least 6 feet from other people, do not gather in groups, stay out of crowded places.

What happens to my friends?  I haven’t really seen anyone in a while.  I went to the beach and met up with some friends.  We sat in our separate cars and talked through the windows.  6 feet apart in separate cars is really hard to do.  You never think about this until you actually have to do it.  We drink coffee and discussed, what? Nothing.  All of a sudden, we have nothing to discuss besides this virus.  Things are unimportant these days. Words are meaningless and pointless, there is nothing to look forward too until this pandemic comes to an end.  When will that be, there is no date in sight?

Don’t even know what day it is. Days are going one into another.  Information on the internet or on the news is more detailed these days.  Or maybe not.  Contradictory conversations are all over the place.  No one seems to be on the same page. The President says that everything is good and beautiful, while the doctors are making a little headway in a cure. Information is misguided.  My parents’ concerns are growing stronger.

Shelter in placeStay wherever you are, at home, until the threat is over during the COVID-19 pandemic to help prevent the spread of disease.  This can be months.  The thought of this lasting months, is a nail biter!

DAY 6

We decided as a family that we would not watch the news on the television all day.  We’ve talked about the virus and how we have to stay home and be safe. I overheard some conversations between my mom and dad talking about people being hospitalized, death tolls and fears for our friends and family. We have family affected by this and I am sad, scared and helpless.  I can only help at this point by sending our thoughts and prayers to those affected by this disease and let my family know that I am hear for them and thinking about them.

Anxiety, maybe not for some, although I don’t understand how not everyone, but for others, the psychological stress, the constant worry, crazy unpleasant thoughts that run through your mind, boredom.  Trying not to think of it.  I do my homework and my assignments and I go move on.  Watching my 2-year-old cousin is a distraction, so that helps.  But then he goes home and here I am…bed to couch to kitchen table to bed.  Too much time to reflect on what I am feeling about all these uncertainties.

OMG tomorrow is another day. 

DAY 7

How to get through a quiet day?  Binge watch episodes of the Kardashians and Vampire Diaries.  I saw them all already, nothing like repetition, no cliffhangers here, but it helps with the not sleeping, tiredness, and continuous eating, what could be worse? Is this my new addiction?  I thought it was chickpeas!!

I miss school and I miss my friends. Being stuck at home for this long is torture. Having contact with my family only causes nothing but fights, it’s horrible. I miss my old life. College was my safe place. I cannot wait to be let out of this lockdown. The second it’s over is the second I leave for days and never stay in this house again, it’s bad. All I do is fight with my siblings. My brothers are annoying and rude, my dad’s loud and my sister is just an annoyance. No one understands the fact that I’m not on break, I have homework and class work and I AM STILL IN SCHOOL. This isn’t my free time, I can never get anything done without my dad speaking, it’s extremely annoying. I need out of this house before I go absolutely insane.

DAY 8

Taking a deep breath.  Heard on the news this morning that that the number of confirmed people leaving the hospital is getting higher.  That’s a good thing. Did we reach a peak?  People are getting better and that makes me happy to hear positive news instead of only concentrating on negative reports.

So, my nails are a disaster.  What to do?  All the nail salons are closed.  Idea, have my mother give me a manicure.  Hey exciting, something different to do. Okay, not the best decision I’ve made so far, polish all over my skin, bumps in the polish, nails filed crooked and changed the color several times. For what, no one can see it anyway, oh well, just because. 

Ok so wanted a drink, I went to the cabinet to get a cup and took out a paper plate. What was I thinking, oh yeah, I’m not!! I’m going crazy.

DAY 9

I need out of this house, it’s getting worse. No one stops fighting!! Too much family time going on. We all need to go our separate ways but there’s nowhere to go!! What am I going to do? I need to see my friends and I need to go outside and relax. I need to drive around with my friends and blast music on the parkway to the beach. I need to go out and party with my friends or just meet up with everyone and have a chill day. This whole facetime thing every night is not doing it for me. I am dying of boredom. I NEED OUT!!!!

DAY 10

I miss my old life, before this virus. I miss my freedom. I miss Oneonta and doing what I want when I want to. I miss seeing my friends every day and going out with them or watching movies. I miss not being told what to do or being annoyed by my siblings. I miss my independence and I cannot wait for this to be over to get that back for the remainder of the time I’m home and so on in college. Sophomore year is approaching as freshman year starts coming to an end. We don’t even know what our rooming situation is yet because were all sidetracked and behind. This is insane, I hope things get better within this month. It needs to.

An eventful quarantine day

It wasn’t a normal quarantine day. My 4 older brothers and I started the day by building a shed in the backyard for my dad. As we were working, my mom began dinner by making her famous burgers and ribs. We all gathered around the table after we were done working and enjoyed our meal as a family. Days like today were rare before quarantine.

Sunday Dinner

After dinner, my best friend called me and told me he was outside. I forgot we had planned to go to a Hempstead Lake Park to walk around and see a few of our other friends. Of course we all took the steps we needed to take in order to stay safe.

Face Mask Car Selfie

We walked around for a few hours, cracking jokes, and talking about all the plans we have after quarantine is over. We walked by this pond that seemed so peaceful and so contrary to what was happening in the world around us. I stood there for a little, trying to take it all in as much as possible. Beautiful.

Quiet, Peaceful Pond

April 21, 2020

April 21, 2020

Today I woke up and almost missed my early class again. I then made myself a meal from scratch and was so proud of myself. I have been recently trying to eat healthier and I learned that saturated fat increased LDL or bad cholesterol. I have been trying to limit my saturated fat intake and looking at a lot of nutrition facts labels. I find it all so interesting.

April 20, 2020

Maggie McCann || April 20th, 2020

Nothing not worthy has been going on recently I’ve spent every day at home, I’ve stopped counting how many days weve been quarantined, its over a month now. My sisters sneaking out tonight to a bonfire with Jonathan, she’s wearing a mask and gloves I’m not sure how much they’re social distancing though.

I’m a bit nervous, I’ve stopped going to stores “just t get out” because its not even enjoyable anymore everyone’s nervous the lines are wrapped around blocks, not because everyone’s getting to the stores but because they’re only letting a few people in at a time and the people on line have to wait sic feet apart. Last time I went to a store was to get hair dye for grace, we died and bleached her hair about a week ago, we went to target first, forgetting about the lines and we showed up and couldn’t understand what was going on but once we remembered we tried CVS, the line wasn’t as long they were letting in only half capacity at a time, we got our hair dye and got the hell out. Its not fun outside anymore.

OptImism

Forever the optimist, I believe that a blessing always emerges out of something terrible. Coronavirus is horrible and scary, but I have noticed a few things during this quarantine. People are enjoying nature more, spending quality time with their loved ones, being more creative and inventive, simplifying their lives, taking naps 😍, appreciating their health, and learning new things like how to cook, cut hair, teach, or sew. They are also stepping up to help others, checking on their neighbors, sharing resources, sending actual cards to nursing homes 😳, and talking to God. We took so many things for granted- abundance of food, freedom to go out as we choose, and our health. My question is, why weren’t we doing this all along? Maybe God or the Earth is angry and this is our wake-up call; one last chance to change the future of our beloved planet. Perhaps we should pay attention.

April 20, 2020

April 20, 2020

Today I finished a lot of my nutrition work and now I only have two more projects, but they are very large and one I really don’t want to do. I’ve been seeing more people expressing their feelings about people going outside when they don’t need to on social media. I do agree with their points, but it is dangerous to put it online because some people get very aggressive online.

Celebrating 21st BIRTHDAY under Quarantine

Waking up to snow in April on my birthday.

A birthday during quarantine is one of the strangest and most isolating feelings. Normally it is a day to gather with family and share a meal together. This year was very different, my parents stood at the door with masks. They visited for a few minutes and left. I never saw my grandparents or extended family and friends.

It was sad.

Definitely not how I would have imagined my 21st birthday. But in the end, it was a good day in isolation. And we restocked our quarantine supplies!

Salud!

Night.

Night time seems to be when I’m most productive since we began to quarantine. I find myself sleeping a lot during the day but am more awake at night. Time doesn’t seem to go as slow when the sun isn’t out. Mental health is something of concern in my household, and the hours I’ve been holding don’t really help those concerns. I guess driving around at night is what makes me feel reminded that people are still alive; seeing lights on in all the houses is a comforting feeling even though you don’t see the faces to accompany them.

Nadia Boyea

From Afar

Most of my family lives across the New York / Ontario border in Canada. I have long been accustomed to crossing the border to visit. Piling into the family van for our summer road trips to Canada is an annual tradition for us. It is about a 9 to10-hour trip from Oneonta to see my relatives in the province of Ontario (when all the rest breaks and meal breaks are added on). The border never seemed to be any major impediment. At worst, it meant a 1 hour wait to clear customs on a busy day. However, the pandemic has made the border all too real. When there is bad news from afar it is more difficult to process.

My sister who lives in Canada has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Fortunately, it seems to be a mild case. She was diagnosed through tele-medicine. Since it is not a severe case, she has not been given a COVID-19 test in accordance with policy in the province of Ontario. She is suffering from fever, aches and pains and lethargy. Thus far she has no major issues with shortness of breath or coughing. However, any COVID-19 in the family is deeply worrisome. When distance intervenes, worry increases. I have been in frequent communication with my sister and parents. I worry about how her family is coping. She is isolated in the attic room of her house. Her husband is dealing with their two active children while also trying to work from home. My parents who are both about 80 have left some supplies on my sister’s porch but can’t enter the house. I feel a bit helpless being so far removed.

My family’s COVID-19 situation has got me thinking about how people dealt with distant emergencies and crises in the past. My grandfather was in the US Navy in World War Two and fought in the Pacific. He left his family in Wisconsin and could only communicate with them from afar by the occasional letter. The situation of my grandparents and their children was not unique. Throughout history, many families have sent their loved ones away to war or foreign service and have waited patiently for them to come home safe. They probably only got small bits of news from their loved ones and tried not to think too much about how the global crisis might affect their family.

Our modern globalized world likes to believe that distance and borders do not matter. Technology has supposedly erased distance. Before the pandemic experts liked to say, “The world is flat”; not literally but in the sense that it was more open and accessible than ever before.  You can easily be in communication with anyone anywhere at any time. Borders are irrelevant. We can travel and work in different countries. However, this pandemic is both confirming and undermining those past truisms. For COVID-19 borders and distance don’t matter. It is a globalized virus. It has circled the globe and is flaring up everywhere. Within a year there will be nowhere immune from it. However, for the people stuck in the middle of the pandemic borders and distance do matter. The US / Canada border, the longest undefended border in the world, is closed. This pattern has been repeated all over the world. We are supposed to minimize unnecessary travel. Distance has re-remerged. My world has shrunk to working from home, walking around the block and going to the grocery store once a week.

What this means is that now once again we listen to news from afar and we cannot do much more than worry. It gives me new admiration for my grandparents’ generation. I think of them as I wait and hope for my sister’s recovery.

QUARANTINE quietness

Unable to go home, I have been living on my own in Oneonta for a little over a month now. It’s very different going from living in a house of four girls to being alone. It is so quiet here, I feel like I am going mad. Usually when I’m bored I’ll just hop on my phone or laptop and scroll through social media until my eyes hurt, but thats no longer the case. Recently, logging on to social media and reading about Covid-19 has been making me feel sick to my stomach. Although its good to stay informed about the virus, I cant help but feel scared and anxious every time I come across an update. To help me stay sane, Ive tried to layoff on the social media as much as I can. Instead, I try to find other things to do, such as picking up a book, cook, clean, paint and most importantly take naps.

What Message would this give me ten years ago

With all the closures going on, and the kids not being in school now for over a month, I wonder what message this is giving to our children with special needs.

I’m an individual with autism. Something many of us on the spectrum face is a lack of willingness to socialize. Of the many therapies I had as a kid, one of them was designed to improve my social skills by using scenarios and having the popular kids follow me around at lunch. In elementary school, I hated it. But now, as a senior who seems to know everybody, I rely on others for my energy. I went from not wanting to leave the house, to feeling like I need to be somewhere every day.

Last semester, I revisited some repressed thoughts I had during my period of mental crisis in middle school. There were elements of my anguish that I hadn’t shaken off for years, and I finally began to find the tools to fix them. I had friends, now I needed to find meaning in my friendships. Then with the shutdowns all happening in the span of hours, everything I seemed to be working towards is rendered useless.

So that leads me to wonder what messages this is giving to the autistic kids who are still getting hold of these things. Without a doubt, some of them are probably rejoicing that they don’t have to make an effort to see people. But for many of us, it’s very difficult to grasp the reasoning for why things are happening in the world. For somebody to be told they have to talk to more people, only to now hear that they can’t see anyone even if they wanted to, is awfully confusing. I can’t be the only one who now feels their whole life is a lie, but it’s definitely affecting me.

Almost A month in…

Today we went out. It was a good day, even if others might be mad for what I went out to do. I went to pick up my car that I bought from a sketchy man about a month ago. I bought it before this pandemic. It has less than 95,000 miles on it and it only cost about $4200. At the time I could spare that kind of money. I should have waited to make the purchase, for many reasons. Anyway, it was a good day because I got to go outside and I got to drive! Man! I miss driving and having my music loud with the the windows down and my left hand feeling the wind, the freedom. It’s literally nothing, but its one of my simplest pleasures in life. I can’t wait for everything to go back to normal. I am so bored at home and so tired of seeing the same four faces everyday. I go outside on the regular, but I miss seeing other people and being able to talk with strangers without all the panic and hysteria. Now, going outside is a hostile environment with people being ruder than ever. (Ruder sounds weird… I wonder if its even a real word.) I have stress and I need the economy to get back to normal so my stress levels can go back to normal. Well, this is my good day lol.

April 19, 2020

Maggie McCann || April 19th, 2020

So I’ve decided when I graduate I’m living in a school bus. I’ve seen a lot of videos online recently of people living completely sustainably, shopping at farmers markets, using solar energy, driving around wherever they want. It seems wonderfully natural and clean and so cute, it seems like a hell of a lot of work, renovating a bus, having to insulate the whole thing, install electricity, hot water, decorating, but it would be so worth it and it would be a really cool adventure. I’m imagining all of this with Ryan too, we could keep it somewhere with good fishing, he’s said he wants to stay upstate, what better place to keep a bus than upstate at a campsite, they have free campsites upstate! We could even stay close to Albany so we could have actual jobs, I could easily be hired for mostly remote online work. We could cook all out own food and it wouldn’t have to be forever but wed save so much money on rent and heating and electricity. My dad’s a plumber he could hep me insolate and install all the important stuff and a wood fire stove is so much more sustainable than gas, I wouldn’t even mind hunting and fishing if it was strictly for eating, and it would be so CUTE then we’d also have so much more money for travelling and a real house in the future. Not really sure if this is what people are going to want to be archived for future generations but if your looking for me in five years ill be living in a bus in Albany.

April 19, 2020

April 19, 2020

Today I did a lot of homework again and realized that I have 3 big projects due this week and I’m not excited. I hope I do well on my finals too I didn’t realize how close they were. I feel like I won’t do as good on my finals because I will be in my house and I can never focus in my house. I also hope I do good in all my classes because I really need my GPA to stay up.

April 18, 2020

April 18, 2020

Today I had a lazy day and just watched Netflix and looked through social media. My mom was trying to get me to organize my college stuff, but I really just wanted to sleep. The only downside to all this is that tomorrow I am going to have to do actual work. I believe the quarantine deadline has been extended to May 15 but I’m not too sure where that applies to.

april 17, 2020

April 17, 2020

Today I realized that I am almost done with all my assignments for the semester. I also am running for PR for one of the clubs I am in but there are a lot of people running. Hopefully I get it because it was look super good on my resume. My parents went shopping today for food and had to wear masks because it is now the law. I also see that my neighbor is always going outside every day and driving around. I hope he is wearing a mask.

what will my kids remember about this time?

My mother has accused me of thinking my children are pretty perfect. It isn’t that exactly, though I’d admit I’m rather a doting parent 🙂 It’s like a prayer I say every night: As I settle down to sleep, I tell my husband that I love him and then I say aloud “… and I love our two babies, too.” Lately, because I want the last utterance I make to be a little bit of a laugh, I add: “If we have to live through a global pandemic emergency, I’m glad it’s with the three of you.” He obligatorily harumphs and then I feel I can go to sleep. It isn’t that I think my children are perfect, but I certainly think the world of them, by which I mean they’re my world.

Yesterday, a friend asked me how my kids are doing at this time. At risk of confirming my mother’s accusation, I will say that they have been pretty great during this past month at home. I have two babies, as I mentioned, and my 16 year old is a 10th grader now home for the rest of the spring from boarding school, and my 12 year old is a 7th grader at our local middle school. I feel bad about what my 16 year old is missing. She was supposed to go to France for two weeks! and go “on tour” with her high school dance company! and so many other lovely plans that just have to wait now. Ditto my 12 year old, who was having a terrific year at school, hitting his stride with work and friends and everything. He was looking forward to running his first season of track, so we had ordered running shoes that arrived about two weeks before the schools closed.

Because they are 16 and 12, they can do a lot for themselves. They are conscientious students, and I do no homeschooling of them at all, and they seem to be keeping up with their work from school–and my 10th grader in particular has quite a lot of it–and staying occupied while my husband and I are working.

Most important, they are good company for each other. I do not mean to talk down on the experiences of only children–at one point or other, I think all of us in our house have wished we had been onlies–but I have to say that right now, in this moment, I am particularly glad for my children that they have each other. So, my hope is that years from now, they will look back at this time and remember not just the strangeness and sadness of this moment and spending so much time on screens and missing their friends, but also that they got to be together and enjoy having a brother/sister who would walk, ride bikes, sing along to the same songs. So, maybe that will be a happy memory from now.

April 16, 2020

Maggie McCann || April 16th, 2020

Todays been incredibly uneventful, I’ve stopped keeping count of how many days I’ve been at the house. I woke up this morning around 9am, made eggs and vegetables for breakfast. I’ve been watching YouTube in the mornings instead of news in the mornings, Buzzfeed unsolved mostly. I’ve had a lot more time to spend on things I like to do, I’ve been getting back into true crime documentaries and podcasts, I’ve had so much more time for podcast’s its been great. I have about a week left of school before finals. Today, like most days, I had breakfast, watched some YouTube and started schoolwork at 11am.

Todays Thursday so its my busier day, I had Comparative International Politics at 12 and European History at 2:30 and some assignments so I worked on all that until 4pm. I’ve managed to keep my eating and sleeping schedule intact so far, I try to have three meals a day, today I had lunch at 2pm, granola bar, almond butter and an apple, worst thing being home is I never know when to stop drinking coffee, it always feels like the morning until 5pm, weve almost run out of coffee a few times now, not knowing if the stores will have any normal coffee is a big fear of mine recently, I’ve definitely got in easier than most with problems like that. The rest of they day I’m probably going to spend reading, watching tiktoks and tonight I have a skype call with Ryan, its been about a month now since weve seen eachother, doesn’t look like well be together for our half a year anniversary, it wouldn’t be that big a deal if we weren’t so sure wed be together for it when this all started, I miss his so so much.

April 16, 2020

April 16, 2020

Today I had several classes and orchestra. I woke up late and was 2 minutes late to my nutrition class even though I woke up early but then fell back asleep. I sleep for over 10 hours and I am still tired which is so weird. I had online violin classes because it is hard to hear both people playing at the same time and if the notes are in tune. Thursday’s I am always online for class.

Isolated Fibromyalgia

4/15/2020

I had a routine. One that started to work and I could manage.

Although now everything has changed. My stress levels are high, routine is gone, and my pain has gotten worse. Living with Fibromyalgia during this time of isolation is hard. Online classes have caused more stress, irregular sleep patterns, limited amount of movements, irregular eating times. All of which can make the pain worse. I sit for hours on my laptop doing work and then I can’t move because my body is stiff. Or I get out and take the dogs for a walk to take a break and I pay for it later in tears.

I feel myself breaking down.

As we near the end of the semester, my motivation for doing assignments gets lower and lower. I wake up in pain and I don’t move from my bed, because I don’t have to. I can work from there. Then my fiance comes in with a cup of coffee, helps me into the shower, and I start my day. We do what we have to during these difficult situations, there are good days and bad.

Routines are important, and this change has negatively affected students in ways that many can’t even imagine.

But we adapt, we survive and we overcome.

April 15, 2020

Maggie McCann || April 15th, 2020

            We learned about the WWII mass observation journals that these COVID journals are based on in class today. It was jarring, unsettling, fascinating, I never could have imagined a few months ago that I would be in a time even remotely like WWII and here I am personally understanding a journal written by a girl in 1939. I found this project incredibly fascinating when I first started and the thought that one day my journal may be in a collection like the mass observation journals were reading is unbelievable. I was writing some of these journals yesterday before reading the WWII journals for class and having everything so fresh and seeing all the similarities was incredibly unsettling and made this whole situation seem much bigger.

The WWII journals we read were written by a girl named Muriel Green, she was 18 in 1939 living in Norfolk. She mentions the depressiveness of businesses not being what they used to be, like all the stores closing at the beginning of the pandemic. She also writes about rationing, and as were not rationing yet this is definitely a bit worse than we have it we are seeing echoes of that today, the shortages in supermarkets, the hesitation to even go to supermarkets. And I feel I have to keep reiterating, this is absolutely not as bad as the second world war, I’m not sure there are many things that could be worse than atrocities of the second world war but reading civilian journals, seeing the war from a far, it feels a lot like what were going through now.

There was also a bit of the journals that discussed Muriel going to a meeting in the city. At this point civilians had been given gas masks in order to protect themselves from the tear gas that was constantly covering city streets. Muriel mentions that her and others were holding their gas masks but at the risk of seeming too over dramatic they were not putting them on, the gas subsided and they continued on without them until she got to the meeting where they were hit with a room full of tear gas. No one had worn their gas masks as directed and because of this they all got hit with tear gas very badly, Muriel even writes “I suppose it was a case of feeling ‘silly’ to put one on when other people had not got theirs on” sounds eerily familiar doesn’t it? Everyone dismissing face masks and gloves to avoid seeming over dramatic, until it was too late.

april 15, 2020

April 15, 2020

Today I did more homework, but I also watched a lot of Netflix. I realized that at the beginning of quarantine I used to eat all the time but now I barely eat so I’ve been trying to make sure I eat, and I might even start working out because why not. I don’t get a lot of movement or exercise except from my bed to the fridge so I might as well.

Craving Spring

Every year, at the end of a long winter, I crave for the blooming of flowers and the return of birds to fill the air with songs. Spring is coming, but it feels as if it is crawling to the start line. Spring brings new beginnings and thoughts of rejoicing with friends and family at picnics or baseball games. But as I think about everything that should be happening, I am reminded about what is yet to come. Uncertainty plagues our consciousness. We are living each day, preparing ourselves for bad news and hoping for the opposite. I am hanging on to the hope that in the unpredictability of the present, Spring remains on the horizon. A new day, that feels different than our yesterdays, will be here soon.

April 14, 2020

Maggie McCann || April 14th, 2020

Woke up around 10am today, I’m finding it less and less important to get up at a certain time, I know that’ll catch up with me, a schedule is a very important way to stay sane. We had a facetime call with my grandmother this morning, she’s in a hospice nursing home, last time I saw her was a few days before her home got locked down, my mom, sister, aunt and I all stopped by for a few hours, this was well before anyone was wearing masks or staying home but they had us use hand sanitizer, asked us where wed been in the last two weeks and took our temperature. We found out a few days ago two workers and a resident had tested positive, we expect its more from what weve heard nursing home have not been forthcoming with how far the virus has spread and we unfortunately don’t expect much different from “The Manor”  but were just hoping the best for my grandma and were talking with her as often as we can. Not that there’s anything to talk about, I told her I scheduled my classes for next semester at least three times, my mom went through every plant in our new garden and I think my dad went through the particulars of his day by the half hour, and we still had 20 minutes of video call to fill. There’s nothing to talk about, nothing new is happening accept the death toll is rising and more things are being closed. I really can’t imagine how this is affecting everyone’s mental health.

I’ve certainly gone a bit off the rails a few times now. I did a face mask last night, highlight of my week and I sent my boyfriend at least 20 snapchats of the process, this morning I danced to nothing while I made vegetables and eggs for breakfast for the 4th day in a row. Might as well be Groundhog Day, that might honestly be better than the progressive severity of everything. These journals are really helping me keep track of days and somewhat understand how I’m feeling, at least be aware of it, if not I might just forget what day it is all together. Everyday seems to have that weird Sunday afternoon anxiety, even the weekends don’t feel much different apart from drinking after 5pm. And I know there are plenty of people who have it much worse, I’m not a nurse or a doctor, everyone in my family is safe and healthy but that doesn’t mean I’m not scared, overwhelmed, overstimulated by the news, the numbers being thrown at us just getting bigger and more unimaginable by the day, and I’ve stopped listening to the president all together, the nonsense spewing out of him and his twitter has nearly sent me to tears more than a few times, I am lucky to be living in new York, we’re at the epicenter of the whole thing but at least Mayor De Blasio and Governor Cuomo are sane I seriously think they’re doing the best they can and I am so grateful to be able to trust them rather than the bumbling idiot in the White House…

Speaking of going of the rails… these journals may just devolve into therapy sessions with myself.

April 14, 2020

April 14, 2020

Today I did a lot more homework and went to my two classes. I can’t believe there’s only like a week or two of school left. I feel like I just started college. It sucks that I wasn’t able to stay on campus my whole sophomore year but I bet it is worse for the seniors.  I could never imagine.

How it’s Been

I’ve been home for roughly 6 weeks? give or take a week. When I first got home I was hanging out with my friends a lot, obviously we were in the area of what was happening in the United States but it wasn’t as far gone as it is now. New Rochelle was rather close to us though, which was the first quarantine zone in The U.S. By the way I’m from Croton on Hudson, New York, roughly 45 minutes north of the city. After about a week or so of hanging out we eventually stopped. I stopped once the governor deemed groups of 10 was too large, some of my friends carried on for a couple days after but they eventually stopped too. Meanwhile my mom, who works as an accountant for an energy company had been named an essential worker by her boss as they were considered an essential business by the government. The owner of the company pushed for that. She was soon able to work from home and the coming isolation days followed.

I’ve pretty much been home for the entire quarantine of New York. The only time that I have left the house is for food and to walk my dog. Another interesting fact about this is that I moved to this house (a town over from Croton) after I graduated from high school. That means I’ve basically spent more time living in Oneonta then living in the house, however I think the latter may be a bit higher when this is all said and done.

The majority of my days have been spent at home. Motivation to do things comes more than it goes but it surely does go from time to time. Many of my days have consisted of playing with my dog, doing some form a school work, working out, attempting something creative, watching television and playing videogames. I said many days because I do many of these things everyday, but not all of them everyday.

Recently however, in present day, I’m not doing well. Since Friday I’ve been exhausted, super sluggish and tired. Along with this I’ve had headaches and a touch of a cough accompanied with a runny nose. Writing this is actually the first productive thing I’ve done in days. Not sure what I have don’t think it’s Covid-19 but I usually don’t get sick so when I do it worries me. Now my days are real dull, hoping whatever this is doesn’t last long or worsen. Personally don’t really want to go to the doctor at this time just to possibly put the people living in my house in danger.

May get an update may not.

Sincerely,

Sean Smith

Everything is Gonna be GROovy

worry and fear , two constant emotions for man, but through it all. everything is gonna be groovy. War and disease occurs but that’s Nature’s cycle, ya dig? This is another turn in the Wheel and a new age in the Kali Yugic cycle but everything is still gonna be groovy. As long as we stay healthy, fit, smart,productive and beautiful , its all gonna be groovy.

But there will always be naysayers , negative neds and hypochondriacs, heads congested with the words of the media and not of their own judgement. Block it out, ya dig? Enjoy family and nature. Because after this ends and the world purifies itself, it’s all gonna be groovy

My realm
COVID-19

UNTOUCHABLE

At first I thought the media was being overdramatic. I didn’t understand how a virus in China would affect my family and schooling in the United States.

When the Virus was spreading to Italy and other countries, I thought I was untouchable. ‘The United States knows what to do in a crisis, everything would be fine. We will take precautions before it even steps foot in America. There’s nothing to worry about’, I kept telling myself.

At the start of March I thought that I was immune to this and was saddened to have to leave Oneonta. My family took me the week after spring break to get my stuff and I ended up staying a few days just to say goodbye to my home away from home.

I really thought we were going to come back to Oneonta at the end of March and this hysteria would be over. Little did I know this was the beginning of the end.

March 31st, 2020 my grandmother tested positive for COVID-19. The virus would then spread and infect my entire household.

During the time I was in Oneonta my great-grandfather would be admitted into the hospital for shortness of breath. Turned out it was his congestive heart failure but once he was out of the hospital, he was too weak to care for himself anymore so my family had to make the difficult decision to have my great-grandparents (92 & 94 years old) come live with us during this hard time. We have a multi family house so we thought it was the best decision since there would be people to care for him here.

However, we began to see just how dangerous and real this virus was after this week. We all tried our best to be quarantined and stay clean. But my great-grandmother was the first one to show symptoms. She slowly got exhausted and started to have a high fever and bad cough. We called the emergency hotline provided by the state to make an appointment and they said to take her to a walk-in clinic.

My grandmother and great-grandmother took the test for the virus but it would take 48 hours to hear the results. From that moment the walk-in doctor knew something was wrong and called an ambulance for my great-grandmother. She was rushed to the hospital because the virus is affecting her heart.

April 1st, the day after my grandmother’s results came back positive, my great-grandmother’s results came back positive as well.

My great-grandmother is still in the hospital being quarantined there while everyone in our house has been showing symptoms. It has been a roller coaster of emotions. How could something I thought was so far away affect my life this much?

April Showers bring..a boatload of work!

4.13.2020

Morning spent working out on home elliptical. Shelter in place=no gym=no friends=no chuckles and jeers. I completed by 4 hr cardio sesh and 100 pushups, 100 crunches, and 100…no wait…only 60 kettlebell swings. I don’t want to be a weakling goober! Better luck tomorrow.

Rain Rain go away!! No walk outside today! 66 degrees but rain all day. My goal for the week: Complete a 10 page essay for African American art due in May, start and finish making the garden tidy from last year i.e tiling the soil, transplanting worms to make the soil healthier and de-weeding it, and working on at least 1 creative venture. Listened to my dungeon-synth project today and realized that along with getting my body back to “model perfect” as it was in 2018, I also need to work on getting my keyboard harmonies up to snuff…good things DO NOT happen to those who wait too long!

Not seeing my partner of 9 years is wicked sad and gives me hardcore anxiety, but we call daily and Skype and I have 2 of my besties from Rick Owens who call me daily just to shoot the breeze and talk fashion. Apparently “apocalyptic chic” is out and “Malibu Barbie/island girl” is in. Go figure, eh? Well, I started my 10 page research paper, typing it all out as I write it by hand before so my thoughts don’t scatter. i HIGHLY recommend this technique for those who are diagnosed with ADHD/OCD/Anxiety (like I have) as it helps your thoughts stay contained and focused. I accomplished 3/4 assignments for CGP today so I suppose Im “ahead of things”. Cleaned the entire house top to bottom, managed to stick to the “Karl Lagerfeld diet” (I highly recommend this diet to anyone looking to get “bikini ready” in the midst of quarantine). No quarantine 15 for this boi!

Building a wardrobe for myself that is both comfortable and trendy (even though no one but me, my folks, and ithaca farmer’s market people see me on the weekends) has helped me cope ALOT. Jeremy Scott, Wunderkind, and Kenzo/Roulon Smith, have become my best friends. Nature walks and the Ithaca Farmers’ market on Saturday has been my saving grace. Hail to the Sun to keep shining His rays upon all who are worthy to receive them! Hael og Sael! Over and out…

Hold out hope

I cant believe that this is how we all have to start off 2020. This was supposed to be such an amazing year. Its the start of a new decade, but instead of thinking of all of the fun things that this year will bring I am just focused on making it through this hard time and hoping that this pandemic doesn’t last too long. My life like so many other peoples has been turned upside down. This is a time when people should be coming together, but instead the entire world is shutting themselves inside their houses and locking their doors. When this whole situation first started I was terrified. I worry all the time and this was just another thing on a long list of things that swirl around in my head. When things started to get more serious my thoughts became more destructive. I started to really feel scared and unsafe. I didn’t think that there was anywhere that I could go where I would be safe. How would I know if the virus could get to me or worse to my family? How do you protect the people that you love from something that you can’t even see? As the entire world scrambles to make sense of this situation all I want is clarity and a concrete answer, but of course this isn’t something that I can get. We all just have to have hope. We have to hope that all of the hard work of the doctors, nurses, leaders, and even the work of everyday people will help to bring us out of this on the other side. Our world has never faced a situation like this. After spending so much of my time worrying about how this would end and what would change because of it I finally told myself that I had to stop. There is no point in worrying for the future when we don’t focus on the present. We will all get through this. There will be sad times and losses, but there will also be courage and strength. In a time like this no one is alone even if it feels that way. We are all going through this together and we will all come out stronger because of it. We just have to have hope.

Here’s to hoping for so many more adventures with these amazing people who have quickly become my second family!

COVID-19 in 2020

People aren’t taking chances with the fear of this virus spreading like wildfire.

Healthcare workers are scared.

The public are panic buying toilet paper?

The places we normally go are empty and abandoned.

Other animals are blissfully ignorant to the social distancing rule.

April 13, 2020

April 13, 2020

Today I did a lot of my nutrition homework and finished up my proposals for biochemistry. I can’t wait for quarantine to be over because I had been at my house all day. At least my parents get to go to work and have a different environment. I’m definitely more irritable also because I don’t do much during the day.

Quarantine Diary, April 13th

The day is gloomy and overcast, matching the mood of not being on campus at SUNY Oneonta today. Our classes will meet through WebEx later today but it’s not the same as prior.

Our spirits are high with hopes that some of normal life may return in May. Our department has been excellent through this crisis, an I am grateful for meaningful education continuing over the last four weeks.

desolate

Visible from the only light in town.

The experience of social distancing and self quarantines have taken a toll on everyone I know in one way or another. Graduations are cancelled or postponed. New mothers can’t show off their newborn babies to friends and family. Kids and their parents are stuck at home; seeing them playing outside while I walk by knowing it is their only reprieve is sad. There’s a small park one house away from mine that is usually crawling with the neighborhood kids with the start of the warmer weather, and now it’s rare that anyone is there at all. There’s only so much we can do, and that is to actively do nothing. I’ve personally found this to be a really stressful time, knowing I really don’t have the option to go see friends, even though everyone was forced home from college.

The religious community is very prevalent in my town, this is one of three within a two mile radius that has cancelled services.

There are now 37 cases in my county and I think it is just started to be taken seriously. Being as far upstate as we are, there was a lot of ignorance thinking that the virus would not reach us, but alas, those escaping the diseased city sought safety in their summer homes and without knowing it brought the virus with them. There was the initial panic buying, and the grocery store remains busier than it probably should be. As of now, there are about a dozen people I know of who have either been tested, gone to the emergency room, had to self-quarantine due to exposure, and one has even died.

Local businesses have been suffering, most food places have temporarily closed. Those that remain open still seem to have customers as I’ve driven by but everyone is so wary of each other. The virus has made us fearful of living.

Nadia Boyea – 4.11.20

these times are not for people with anxiety!

I have anxiety and my heart races just with thoughts of dreaded things that are upcoming. I am older and this just started recently-in the past 3 years because of many things in my life that are just not controllable. I have always been a “fixer” and I cannot “fix” what is going on around me today; this causes me sleepless nights and crying jags. The one thing that keeps going through my mind with all this chaos is, “Will the world ever be normal again?”

i.e.-Will we want to wear masks for a long time after this is done because we don’t trust officials to judge if it is safe? Will the job market recover? Is this the next Depression? How many will die? Will family or friends that I know die from this? If many people get sick in this rural area, how will we have enough ventilators? Will I die from this? These thoughts have caused me to update my obituary and death instructions and tell my family where they are located. I am not afraid of dying but I would like to stick around to see my grand children grow up. I also worry about my brother and daughter in law who work in healthcare. My Mom is in a nursing home with dementia and Parkinsons, will this take her life? If she does get COVID-19, will I be allowed in to see her in her final hours? I haven’t seen her since March 6th because of the lockdown at her facility. She doesn’t understand any of this and thinks we just left her there to die. She is angry and lashing out at the nurses and aides. I don’t want her to die with that frame of mind, in turmoil.

We moved in with my mother in law a year ago and she has dementia also. She is very confused, and is shocked by the death tolls everyday but she only understands that no one can find toilet paper at the store. It is funny the way the mind protects people from the evil in this world. I asked our Pastor to Facetime with her today because when he prays with her it seems to give her peace. What will give me peace though?

Getting by in the pandemic

Hard to believe that Easter (which is usually the sign of the start of Spring and a time of rebirth) is going to be spent hunkering down inside our homes during a global pandemic.  I can honestly say this is not something I ever thought I would experience.  Having been quite sick in January with H1N1 Influenza A which put me out of work for a week and led to a rather dramatic visit to the emergency room, this fresh pandemic is fairly disturbing to our whole family. Fortunately, we are all well.

We are now leading a relatively simple life.  Michelle and I have been working at home for almost two weeks straight now which is a mixed blessing. It is difficult to keep up with meetings etc. online and I have had to evolve my teaching into an online format as well. I am quite low tech so much of my teaching is converting point form notes into crisper written format for students and converting their tests into open book online tests. Students are responding fairly well. Michelle is also doing meetings online and also virtual reference work.

Our daughter Sara is also at home. Her lifestyle consists of waking up at 10:30 a.m. and playing video games as well as virtually chatting with her friends. Usually we find some of her social media habits annoying but, in this case, it is helpful to keep her connected with her crew albeit virtually. She has also been doing schoolwork online. All students in our school district have Chrome Books (minicomputers) which allow them to do work remotely. Her teachers have been quite organized keeping touch about schoolwork and assignments. Keeping Sara motivated is a bit of an issue.

We don’t venture much out of the house except to go for walk around the block and to the grocery store once a week. Visits to the store now include the obligatory face mask. I have stayed away from my office and brought all my files home. The highlight of the week is getting takeout once on the weekend. We had Jamaican food last week and Sara votes for Tex Mex burritos this week.

April 12, 2020, Easter

Maggie McCann || April 12th, 2020, Easter.

            Weirdest Easter to date. To have something to look forward to my family decided to do a small brunch, my mom made a vegetarian egg casserole, I made a vegan oatmeal bake and we got bagels, lox, spreads and lots of champagne and orange juice. I was home last year for Easter I was planning on coming home from school this year for the weekend, we usually switch each year from my Mom’s side of the family to my Dad’s we were already planning on having a much smaller Easter than usual, we were going to my Grandparent’s house and do the usual Easter diner, we still do an Easter egg hunt because we have a few little cousins in the family, soon It’ll be my older cousins kids were doing it for. My grandma always makes way too much Italian food, her way of reminding us were not completely Irish. She is from Malta, grew up in Brooklyn, but my family consists of a bunch of blonde haired blue eyed men and my Grandpas still got his Irish accent, so she reminds us were not completely Irish from her amazing chicken cutlets, stuffed shells, sausage and peppers its watered down Italian but its still amazing, thinking about it is making my mouth water. But we didn’t have that this year, this year we had bagels lox and champagne from 12pm to 10pm because we finally had something to celebrate.

A few days ago, my parents and I started the garden in our backyard, something else to keep us busy especially once classes ended. There’s no end in sight for any of this so it’ll be me and the basil plants until further notice. I’m starting to get used to being home, the option of leaving is still missed but I’ve picked up guitar again, I’m slowly remembering how to play its been a few years but I’m enjoying it, I think my dad is too he’s been desperate to get me or my sister to start playing an instrument again.

There’s two more weeks ahead of me until finals week, I have a music video project draft and an environmental sustainability assignment due tomorrow, I was planning on doing them today, that did not happen, although there seems to be no end in sight the passing of time still shows me were closer to that end date than we were yesterday, whenever that end date may be.

april 8th, 20020 & april 12th, 2020: Presidential election and a weird easter

As if things couldn’t possibly get any worse, they did. Bernie dropped out of the Democratic primary today. Which means I’m going to have to vote for Biden. All of this cannot be good for my mental health. Ryan is especially upset, he’s been a hard Bernie supporter since 2015. He said he just wanted to able to vote for him once, even in a primary, even if he knew he wasn’t going to win, and now he doesn’t have that chance. Katie said she’s not going to vote at all. When she said it I jumped on her. Everyone in the group chat did in hindsight it was not the right reaction. It’s essential that we vote, even if we have to vote for Biden its better than not voting at all. But I understand where she’s coming from, it feels hopeless. We all said we don’t even want to have children if Trump stays for another term. But we shouldn’t have jumped on Katie. We’re all in this together.

I’m skyping Ryan tonight. We haven’t talked in a few days. Besides texting, we need something to distract ourselves from the Bernie news. We’re going to watch Doctor Strange and plan on drinking a bit after today’s news. There’s been a lot more of that recently. There’s lots of  jokes online, and  a string of drink recipes on TikTok and twitter. It’s a weird side effect of social distancing. We’re all unemployed and stressed as hell and liquor stores are some of the few stores still open so people are drinking.

April 12, 2020

April 12,2020

Today is Easter and I am really sad because it is my favorite holiday and I can’t go to the physical church to celebrate. Me and my family watched it together once I woke up since my priest made a video of the service. I actually made 3 appearances in the video since they took picture from previous Easter Sunday services and I serve on the altar during these. We had a really nice family day even though we could go to church.

April 11, 2020

April 11, 2020

Today I worked a lot on my nutrition assignments. There are so many, and they are so long it’s hard to do them all at once or the night before. My dad also made calzones tonight and they were so good! My family is trying to only buy food and gas at this point to save money.

Uncertain Times

In uncertain times, imagination can be a blessing and a curse. I am torn between checking the news to stay informed, and boycotting the media to keep negative and paranoid thoughts at bay. In truth, it is impossible to distinguish between what is realistic and what is paranoid. How much of what we hear is an attempt by those in power to control the masses? And to what end? Some stories seem to lean toward producing mass hysteria; others to negate the extent to which this pandemic is crippling every system in society. I don’t know what to believe. I am afraid I am taking this too seriously. I am terrified that I am not. It is the uncertainty, the isolation, and the powerlessness that feeds my fear.

Now more than ever, I must channel my faith. I tell myself that nothing is ever certain. That despite the seemingly overwhelming circumstances around me, God’s got this. Though I haven’t faced anything like this before, I have lived through some perilous times. I hope. I pray. I will not allow fear to dominate me.

We are in this together. God bless us.

4/10/2020

I feel like a mouse in a trap. I’m stuck here with no idea what going on. The virus is spiking in NY. My mom works at a nursing home where most, if not all, of the patients have tested positive and now she doesn’t feel well. I just wish this monster would go away just as fast as it spread. It has made me pessimistic about everything. The government can say whatever they want about the it but no one really knows what to do. Worst case scenario, it’s like the Walking Dead (hopefully without the zombies), rationing food and supplies. I’ve already started eating less just in case the super markets and public businesses are shut down.

As terrible as this plague has been I’ve realized that I am very lucky. I have my family that loves me, I have food, I have a place to rest my head. There are people other there of all ages that needed the free lunch system at schools to eat daily. There are people that depend heavily on food pantries. There are people in abusive households that have been stuck there for weeks now. There are people who don’t have access to their medicine. There are people who can’t even hid from the monster because they don’t have a home.

Yes, families fight all the time but at least we are all together during this time.

death is death

On April 4th, my mother-in-law passed away. She was a gentle and loving, supportive woman, not at all like the stereotype of a dreadful interfering mother-in-law that you see in films and commercials. She was living with dementia in a local nursing home, and as she declined, my husband and I would go try to peek in the windows to see her, as we were not allowed inside. Finally when they realized it was the end of life, they let us inside, and we spent the last 3 days sitting by her side, reading poems, singing, reading from the bible, weeping and holding her hand. So I am very grateful that we got to spend that time with her, and my heart goes out to the many folks whose loved ones are passing in hospitals, without the sound of a loved voice or the touch of a loved hand.

But then the other thing, the part that makes this covid diary worthy or weird, is that she did not pass away from covid 19. And I feel I have to say that to everyone I tell. “My mother-in-law passed away, but it was not from covid-19”, so they won’t think that she was infected, that I am infected, that we are under the shadow, this dreadful, all-powerful raptor that has spread out its vast dark wings above us all, our county, our state, our country, our world. It was just death. Like life and death. The mortality that infects us all.

Fitness and quarantine

April 10 2020

Rose late today at 7am. Leaped onto my elliptical for 5 hours and a 35 minute strength training session with the vengeance strength kvlt bros. Rainy and cold or else I would walk outside during the COVID outbreak. With all gyms closed, I rely on my fitness know-how and body weight to make do until they open again.

Chores with my mum pass the time along with homework to get done before the weekend. Easter is still happening for my family and we are all together. I’m wicked happy and blessed everyone is safe and healthy in my family . Hail to the Sun to keep all men safe during this trying time.

Pretty Sick Time to be Alive

This is a pretty sick time to be alive.

It’s pretty sick that we are living through a historic pandemic.

It’s pretty sick that seniors lost precious time

Sick that the death toll is increasing each day, that people are not staying inside, that we cannot hug our loved ones.

It’s pretty sick that air pollution is decreasing, that people are coming together to support each other, that we get to step back and hug ourselves.

Breathe in the air, but not too much because it’s a pretty sick time to be alive.

April 10, 2020

April 10, 2020

Today I didn’t have any classes, so I did some homework but not much. I also facetimed by boyfriend a lot and we did an online puzzle together. It was super hard. I finished both my essays for two different classes but I am going to wait to submit them so I can reread them. I found out today that 2 people I know have family members with COVID-19 with is so scary!

Learning

Classes have moved to a digital format and my childhood bedroom has suddenly taken the place of a library, dorm room, gym, etc. I am learning to live, work and play in a confined space while trying to stay connected with friends and family. I have noticed my productivity comes in waves. This time requires that we be patient with ourselves. The days feel as if they are melting together. My mom and I have been able to practice our cooking and baking skills and we are starting to experiment with new recipes. Long walks on the local bike path have been the highlight of my days. I have picked up trash along the roads near my house and have seen other citizens doing the same. While people are consuming less and commuting less, Earth is receiving a much needed rest.

Quarantine day… lost count

My family and I have been quarantined for weeks. It is very bad in our area (Westchester, New York) and I don’t see this ending any time soon.

Everyday I wake up scared I will hear that a family member or friend of mine has caught the illness. I have already have had one family member pass and many scares.

My family and I have been staying inside the house as much as we can. Only going to the grocery store when we absolutely have to. It has been hard to shop. My area has a strict restriction on the amount of products you can buy so we, as a family of 8, have struggled to buy enough food for all of us.
In other stores like our CVS, they lock the doors and only let a few people in at a time. Once you can go in, you must stand on the orange tape X’s on the ground when on line and there are large plastic drapes separating you from the employees.

For me and my family, it gets scarier as the days past, especially since I have two immediate family members at risk (my mother and father). I pray that this ends soon for the sake of everyone’s health and so that I can resume my life as a 20 year old college student

I miss my friends.

I really do. I was a sophomore in college this year and feel like I lost so many memories that should have happened up at school. I sit in my house and hear from almost no one, which is a huge reality check. As young as I am, I am a part of the compromised. I am a severe asthmatic.

I wish there was more I could do to help myself and others during this isolation. But I can’t.

Hopefully this will be over soon.

envision…predict…imagine

Imagine we knew that this would happen? If we were able to predict it…Would we have been able to prevent it? To stop all the chaos? Or would it still have spread so fast…so uncontrollably?

Imagine someone in the past saw the future..saw this massive chaos without even knowing? Did someone in the world have a dream…or even vision… of the world shutting down?…Did the world shut down?

Imagine if life doesn’t get back to normal? Is this life the new normal?

Imagine someone in the world sees the future…dreams of what it will be? Does someone in the world know if life will get better…or even worse?

Imagine someone in the world knows the outcome of each route. Would they tell anyone? Would anyone believe them? Do they even believe what they envision?

Imagine if you were able to know the future…Know what will become of the world after this chaos is over…Would you want to know…or are you better just imagining?

i’m falling down on my ethnographic responsibilities and I need to be OK with that

To be honest, I’ve felt both like I have an ethnographer’s responsibility to document this time—and also so overwhelmed with just holding it together (with teaching, with my people at home, with all of the feelings…) that I get a little cranky and resentful about feeling this imperative to be meaningfully productive with this moment. I AM ALREADY A FULL TIME PROFESSOR, PARENT, AND SPOUSE. So, like, I’m not baking sourdough or sewing masks—much less collecting data on, say, experiences of pregnant women during COVID isolation. I don’t even wish I were someone who could do it all. Right now, I just wish the sun was shining Oneonta, but it’s Friday, April 10, and it’s snowing.

April 9, 2020

April 9, 2020

Today I had a test and I think I did pretty good. It was hard because I could see the time which made me feel rushed. Online school is definitely harder than actual school. I feel like teachers expect more even though it is harder for us to actually learn. I watched some Netflix and didn’t really do much homework because I was tired for some reason. I heard that COVID-19 is slowing down and that the next 3 weeks are very important for people to stay inside so that the spreading stops.

April 8, 2020

Maggie McCann || April 8th, 2020

As if things couldn’t possibly get any worse, they did. Bernie dropped out of the democratic primary today. Which means I’m going to have to vote for Biden, all of this cannot be good for my mental health. Ryan is especially upset, he’s been a hard Bernie supporter since 2015, he said he just wanted to able to vote for him once, even in a primary, even if he knew he wasn’t going to win, and now he doesn’t have that chance. Katie said she’s not going to vote at all, when she said it I jumped on her, everyone in the group chat did, it’s essential that we vote, even if we have to vote for Biden its better than not voting at all, but I understand where she’s coming from, it feels hopeless, we all said we don’t even want to have children if T*ump stays for another term. But we shouldn’t have jumped on Katie, its just as bad as not voting, were all in this together.

I’m skyping Ryan tonight, we haven’t talked in a few days besides texting, we need something to distract ourselves from the Bernie news, were going to watch Doctor Strange plan on drinking quite a bit tonight after , I’ve been doing that recently, drinking, we all have actually, there’s lots of  jokes online, there’s a sting of drink tutorials on tiktok and twitter, it’s a weird side effect of social distancing, were all unemployed and stressed as hell and liquor stores are some of the few stores still open so, were drinking.

April 8, 2020

April 8, 2020

Today I did a lot of homework and I have a test. I did really good on my test. My mother told me today that we should stop going to the grocery store because of COVID-19. We have plenty of food so we will be fine. I also have a test tomorrow and I am really nervous.

April 7, 2020

April 7, 2020

Today I had two classes and I could not focus. Being in my house all this time has made me so tired and unmotivated. I still have about a month to go to. I ate a lot of food today but also didn’t do much homework because I was so unmotivated. I had taco bell for dinner though so that was fun.

April 6, 2020

Maggie McCann || April 6th, 2020

It’s my cousin’s birthday today, she’s turning 19. We would usually have had a big party at her house, lots of food, lots of alcohol. Today we drove by at 4pm and wished her a happy birthday from our car window. It was a beautiful day today too, we would’ve been out in her backyard until two in the morning, my Aunt barbecuing, my Uncle keeping the fire going, I probably would’ve invited Ryan down, I’m looking forward to bringing him to a family barbecue, this summer well probably be having one every weekend to make up for this.

Or maybe not. Going to the store today to pick up a card for Steph I didn’t even get out of the car, everyone was wearing masks, I wouldn’t’ve gotten close to anyone, but the fear of being in a public place was enough to keep me put. What happens when this is all over, will we every be comfortable to hug eachother again? Hold the door for a stranger? Maybe well have parties again, we might go to movies like we used to, but things won’t feel the same. There’s no problem with being a bit more cautious, if we want to keep gloves on hand why don’t we, but I don’t know if well be ale to socialize the way we all used to, not if this goes on for much longer.

I miss Ryan a lot, we’ve been skyping quite a bit, almost every other day, hes still working at the supermarket, he’s been busier than ever, he stocks so thankfully hes in the back, not working with customers. I haven been in a store in about three weeks, I don’t know what they look like now. I can’t wait to see him again, I cant wait to see my friends from school either, weve been skyping once a week, we’ve not much to talk about other than what we wish we were doing and what we have to do instead. Weve all taken up hobbies, I picked up my guitar again, Julie’s taking extra cello lessons. Grace has been drawing a bunch more and just ordered strings for her Ukulele, and if all those hobbies fail to keep us entertained, I’ve been trying to lean a tiktok dance for the past week.

April 6th, 2020: socialization

It’s my cousin’s birthday today. She’s turning 19. We would usually have had a big party at her house with lots of food and music and games. Today we drove by at 4pm and wished her a happy birthday from our car window. It was a beautiful day today too. We would’ve been out in her backyard until two in the morning with my Aunt barbecuing, my Uncle keeping the fire going. I probably would’ve invited Ryan down. I’m looking forward to bringing him to a family barbecue. This summer we’ll probably be having one every weekend to make up for this.

Or maybe not. Going to the store today to pick up a card for Steph I didn’t even get out of the car and everyone was wearing masks. I wouldn’t’ve gotten close to anyone, but the fear of being in a public place was enough to keep me put. What happens when this is all over, will we ever be comfortable to hug each other again? Hold the door for a stranger? Maybe we’ll have parties again. We might go to movies like we used to, but things won’t feel the same. There’s no problem with being a bit more cautious. If we want to keep gloves on hand why don’t we? I don’t know if we’ll be able to socialize the way we all used to, not if this goes on for much longer.

I miss Ryan a lot, we’ve been skyping quite a bit, almost every other day. He’s still working at the supermarket, he’s been busier than ever. He stocks so thankfully he’s in the back, not working with customers. I haven’t been in a store in about three weeks. I can’t wait to see Ryan again. I can’t wait to see my friends from school either. We’ve been skyping once a week. We’ve not had much to talk about other than what we wish we were doing and what we have to do instead. We’ve all taken up hobbies. I picked up my guitar again and Julie’s taking extra cello lessons. Grace has been drawing a bunch more and just ordered strings for her Ukulele. If all those hobbies fail to keep us entertained, I’ve been trying to lean a TikTok dance for the past week.

April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

Today I worked on chemistry homework and did a lot. I love getting things done early but most of my group members wait until the last second which is hard for me. I’m also starting to hear about people I know having relatives pass away from COVID-19 which is so scary. In about a week I also will be making my schedule for next semester and I really hope we are able to go back. After dinner, me and my mom made lemon squares and they were so good!

April 5, 2020

April 5, 2020

Today I studied for history and started the review sheet. It is so much harder to study when your not motivated to go to class to learn and pay attention. I found out the stay at home order is moved to April 30, 2020 which is horrible because I really just want to go to the boardwalk or do something. I had a really good dinner though and watched Pirates of the Caribbean. We were also told that when we go out in public we should wear masks even though previously we were told not too.

April 4, 2020

April 4, 2020

Today I worked on studying for my chemistry exam that is next week. There is so much information, but I finished the entire review sheet over like 6 hours. I had nothing else to do so why not. I’m having pulled pork and potatoes for dinner so I’m really excited. I also got 2 recommendations sent in for my internship! I hope I get it. I would be gone all summer, but it would make me feel good that I have an internship under my belt. I can ft my friends and boyfriend over the summer. I also hope it doesn’t get cancelled because of COVID-19.

april 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

Today I worked on my 3-day menu and activity for the internship I applied for. I never realized how much effort goes into planning these things. I also didn’t really eat much so by the end of the day I felt really sick. I watched Netflix when I took breaks too which was nice. Not much happened today and I am getting sick of doing the same thing every day. Might start a workout routine. The morgues in hospitals are running out of room to keep people and they have to keep dead people’s bodies in refrigerated trucks. That is so scary and kind of gross to think about.

Thank you Cosima

Some dogs wear bandanas and make it look good. These dogs are born to it — endowed with a confident, frisky, cool spirit that finds expression jauntily wearing a bandana. Cosima is a bandana dog.

With recent advice encouraging the wearing of face masks in public, Cosima’s bandana wardrobe is being repurposed. Thank you, Cosima, for your sweetness and love, and thank you for the face masks.

Food for thought

We went food shopping today, after being home for nearly two weeks.

To be honest, we were scared. The stories we heard from our cashier neighbor – frightening in the extreme! Long lines; people waiting for an hour or more to get in; people not finding what they needed and getting frustrated and angry; the shock of empty shelves; people stealing items out of other people’s carts – none of this gave us any confidence at all. Based on all of this, my daughter and I decided to go together to make it quicker and to go really late in the evening, at an off-peak time.

It was surreal. There were a good number of people in the store but that was not the most surprising part: it was the silence. There was no background “music-to-shop-by,” no announcements on “sale items fresh from the bakery,”, no “people-out-and-about” noise of any kind. The only thing we heard was the muffled shuffle of feet. Even the creaky carts were silent. No one chatted or even said “excuse me.” Wide-eyed and fearful, people pushed their carts, looked at everyone else as a potential food-stealing enemy, and grabbed things quickly off shelves. One woman was actively crying, tears streaming down her face, as she pushed her mostly-empty cart from one aisle to another. She made not a sound.

april 2, 2020

April 2, 2020

Today I took my nutrition test and I think I did really good on it. I guess I will find out what I got soon! I realized I have two tests next week so I am not excited. I also had my first music class online and I learned a lot about my hand positioning on my violin and it helped a lot. I do prefer going to orchestra at school more though. I also don’t get to have a concert so I’m really sad about that. I also have to start studying for my two tests. I have so much going on!

I’m too old to get blamed for everything…

Tweet from Rep. Pete King
Time for millennials on spring break to grow up. Stop swarming beaches and bars and spreading Coronovirus. Forget your selfishness. Show some responsibility like previous generations made America greatest nation on earth. 
March 17, 2020

It’s always felt like a cool thing to dump on young people and blame them for everything. But something that really grinds the gears of those of us in the Millennial generation is when we get blamed for things that aren’t our fault.

Tweet from Jess Mcintosh
I need everyone on the news to stop blaming Millennials on spring break. That is Gen Z.

Millennials are home trying to keep their children out of the frame on zoom while they work.
March 20, 2020

Basically if anyone wants to dump on young people, the headline has to read millennial. Watch what you say Boomer, or I won’t teach you how to unmute yourself on Zoom.

Tweet from Brittney Cottingham

REPOST: Dear Society, stop saying Millennials are behaving irresponsibly and risking the spread of Coronovirus. Millenials haven't had spring break in 8-12 years and are too busy sitting in our makeshift home offices trying to teach our older colleagues how to video conference.

Table showing generations from Gen Z to Baby Boomers.

We call him “covid warrior”

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, one of my many cousins set up a WhatsApp chat group for our family so that we can stay in touch during this time. I have at least 25 first cousins on my father’s side of the family, most of whom are on the chat group. Many of my cousins are parents and grandparents. The family is very large and scattered across the world: Jamaica, the country where my cousins, grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings and I were born, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The U.S. based family live in New York (me), Virginia, Florida, California and Texas. It is a lively, multi-generational, diverse, and widely dispersed group which makes for spirited chat.

The initial messages on the chat that I saw consisted of family members joyously greeting each other and expressing their gratitude for this platform on which to communicate. Tidings of staying healthy and staying at home were exchanged. Pictures of family, flowers, food, mountains and beaches were posted; however, there was one post that defied the jocular chat exchange. Bobbie, my cousin Geoffrey’s wife, posted that he was out of bed and on the couch, the worst was over and that he was recovering. Geoffrey lives in Texas, works in the medical field, and travels a lot for his job. He is a husband, father, grandfather, brother, and cousin. He is also one of the over 200,000 confirmed U.S. Covid-19 cases.

Thankfully, Geoffrey recovered from Covid-19. My cousin Barbie asked Geoffrey to share the symptoms of his illness with the family chat group so that we would know what to expect in the event that one of us became infected with the coronavirus. Geoffrey generously shared his battle with the disease. His illness was a real wake-up call for the rest of us. It was dreadful. It was miserable. He had a fever for 12 days. He had no energy. He had no appetite. I thought that some good could come from Geoffrey’s suffering by sharing it with others. Geoffrey generously agreed that I could share his symptoms on the pandemic diary project. I am grateful for his willingness to share his account with us because it vividly illustrates the seriousness of the disease:

…, at first I felt tired with just a little lack of energy. Fever and decline came on quickly. Next day the dry cough started and lack of appetite. Energy level dropped to very low and stayed that way for two weeks. Overall feeling of bad illness like you would feel having a bad case of the flue. Although from a subjective point of view it felt different than anything I had felt before. The expected aches and pains associated with fever and staying in bed for so long. Some of the main symptoms I did not experience is tightening in the chest and shortness of breath. I did shallow breath to avoid stimulating the cough as much as I could. I pray non[e] of you have to experience this and I feel blessed I did not get to the point of hospitalization.

This illness was so bad, my cousin used a very expressive, colorful, Jamaican curse-word to describe it. I won’t write it here because only Jamaicans would understand the meaning and forcefulness of the word. And it’s not a nice word although, trust me, it is an apt description. Any illness that gives you a fever for 12 days deserves to be cursed at.

Geoffrey recently received the all clear from the health department. He is released from quarantine. His wife Bobbie is in quarantine until the middle of April. His daughter and family will be in quarantine until early April. He may have antibodies now to protect him from another bought of Covid-19; however, he is taking no chances. He continues to practice social distancing because he does “not want to tangle with Covid- [curse word] ever again!” Geoffrey is wise. He knows firsthand the power of Covid-19. He is a survivor. He is resilient. He is grateful. One of my other cousins paid tribute to Geoffrey by nicknaming him “COVID Warrior” He is a warrior. He is my family’s COVID-19 warrior.

April 1, 2020

Maggie McCann || April 1st 2020

We’ve made it. Were out of March. The year long month. I cannot believe its only April. Both the passing of days and the world outside have slowed to a snail’s pace, or at least in the city it has. I can imagine things are feeling a bit less apocalyptic outside the city and New Jersey, were seriously in the epicenter here and every day I hear of a new person, a friend of a friend, a co-workers aunt, a sisters boyfriend, all testing positive, its creeping closer and closer.

I left my house for the first time in four days today its starting to get nice out so were taking walks, my family and I. we took a ride down to Lemon Creek park, it’s the best my family and I have gotten along in days, my dads started working every other day at work so were all staring to get exceedingly stir crazy ad were taking it out on eachother. But today we went on a walk, the birds were all nesting in the group of bird houses in the park, we spent a while watching those, we recreated a picture of my sister, my dad and I from maybe ten years ago, and we walked the beach for about a half hour. My parents told me about an old factory that used to sit right on the water, they hung out there with their friends in the 80’s until it burned to the ground in ’97.

We stopped by my grandparent’s house, we stood at the curb while my grandparents barely stepped out of their doorway. the one thing everyone keeps asking is “are you going to the store?” or “do you need something from the store?” this time it was my grandma asking my mom for detergent, coffee and paper towels (if there were any) we stood and talked for a while until we all went back home.

April 1, 2020

April 1, 2020

Today I had to study a lot for my nutrition test. I studied with my friends from school on facetime and it was really fun! It made me realize how much I miss studying in the library till 3am together. I also watched another episode of “Elite” today which was fun. I’m really nervous for my test tomorrow but it’s open notes so I should be fine!

Careful & Precise

It’s a bright, chilly early spring day. It’s April 1. A day to celebrate tricks and pranks. I’m outwitted and deceived and it’s OK. It’s fun to be fooled, sometimes. On the other side of midnight is April 2. Today moves into tomorrow.

What is on the other side of the pandemic? I’m hopeful and worried about what the answer includes.

I wash my hands for myself and for everyone around me. I wash them thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. Careful, precise actions are impactful. My hands are so dry and so clean. I think I remember my last handshake.

When we teleconference I wonder about the rooms of my colleagues. Are their rooms warm or cool? Do they smell like fresh brewed coffee? Are my colleagues alone in their rooms, or are others with them out of frame?

April 1st, 2020

We’ve made it. We’re out of March. The year long month. I cannot believe it’s only April. Both the passing of days and the world outside have slowed to a snail’s pace, or at least in the city it has. I can imagine things are feeling a bit less apocalyptic outside the city and New Jersey. We’re seriously in the epicenter here and every day I hear of a new person, a friend of a friend, a co-workers aunt, a sisters boyfriend, all testing positive. It is creeping closer and closer.

I left my house for the first time in four days today. It is starting to get nice out so we’re taking walks, my family and I. We took a ride down to Lemon Creek par. It’s the best my family and I have gotten along in days. My dad has started working every other day at work so we’re all starting to get exceedingly stir crazy and were taking it out on each other. But today we went on a walk. The birds were all nesting in the group of bird houses in the park and we spent a while watching those. We recreated a picture of my sister, my dad and I from maybe ten years ago, and we walked the beach for about a half hour. My parents told me about an old factory that used to sit right on the water, they hung out there with their friends in the 80’s until it burned to the ground in ’97.

We stopped by my grandparent’s house, we stood at the curb while my grandparents barely stepped out of their doorway. The one thing everyone keeps asking is “Are you going to the store?” or “Do you need something from the store?” this time it was my grandma asking my mom for detergent, coffee and paper towels (if there were any) we stood and talked for a while until we all went back home.

March 31, 2020

March 31, 2020

Today I went to class and found the class very interesting. We learned about wounds and how any body part can have ulcers. Then I ate some lunch and did more laundry. I have so many clothes, so I think I am going to try to get rid of some of it and give it away. I got Taco Bell for dinner because there was a deal that you get a free taco with your order. I also was persuaded to watch 2 episodes of “Elite” today.

March 24, 2020
Dear Diary,
In case you didn’t already know, I’m home from school because of the Coronavirus. All our
classes will be online now. I have a lot of mixed emotions. A lot of things that I had planned got
cancelled. I was going to see a Broadway show with family, but all Broadway shows got
cancelled. What I had been really looking forward to was a production of the musical Once
Upon A Mattress in April. The cast and crew had been working hard, but unfortunately, the
production got cancelled. It was inevitable, but I cried, nonetheless. I did realize that I need to
gain a little more perspective. This wasn’t the end of the world, and I have many more
opportunities left to perform. Many people are in a way worse situation than I am because of
this virus. I had to be considerate of those people. Another big takeaway is that I made so many
friends during musical rehearsals. They made me feel welcome when I was afraid that I
wouldn’t be welcomed. I miss them all so much. But the big takeaway for me is that I get to
spend more time with my family. In the last few days, we’ve had movie nights, family game
nights, and went on walks in the park (we’re sure to follow social distancing practices). It feels
weird. I can’t greet my parents the way I used to when they come back from their shifts in the
hospital. No hugs. No kisses or high-fives. Just a mere elbow-bump or a wave. It’s not the same.
I had a weird epiphany lately. I’m getting ahead of myself here. I’m looking forward to the end
of the school year, but when the summer break ends, for the first time, I’m not going to be
upset that I’ll be going back to school. This is really the first time I can say I miss school and I
wish I can be there. Classes started yesterday. I’ll put in another entry when this first week is
over.
March 30
Dear Diary,
We have entered week 2 of distance learning. Things are going fine so far. I got a great grade on
a Calculus exam that I took last week. So that made me happy. Many of my friends seem to be
using Zoom rather than Blackboard to communicate with teachers and each other. Today I was
invited to my first Zoom conference, but it wasn’t for school; it was for a club that I am a part of
at school called Mask and Hammer. This club is geared towards anyone interested in theater
like me. We usually hold meetings on Monday, and the club president wanted to try using
Zoom to hold a meeting. So, I joined the video conference, and I was so happy to see my friends
again, whom I all missed very much. We discussed plans of still holding the club’s annual endof-year party through Zoom even though we would not be in the same room. I met my friends’
pets, which made me smile but also jealous because I do not have a pet of my own. I have also
checked up on my friends from high school. I had a long conversation with my friend Vic and
told her I missed her very much and that I hope she is safe with her family. Then I said
something I have not really told anyone else. I worry a lot about my parents. My parents are
both nurses, so they are the essential workers who are allowed out of the house to work. My
parents always come home tired and they tell me that it is frightening working in the hospital
now because they had never seen anything like the coronavirus before. One day my dad
planned to get the family breakfast, but he had to stay extra hours in the ER. I was afraid
something happened to him, but he came home just happy to see me and the rest of my family,
and I was happy to see that he is doing fine. Well that’s it for now.

March 30, 2020

March 30, 2020

Today I woke up at like 9am which was so weird because I never get up that early. I took a shower and did some homework. I also made myself a healthy breakfast because I was bored. I took a break and watched some Netflix and then I went to class and put some of my clothes away since I just got all my clothes back from college. I also watched an episode of this show “Elite” with my boyfriend.

March 29, 2020

March 29, 2020

Today I went back to school to get all my stuff. It didn’t take very long but I didn’t realize how much stuff I had in my room. I was also the last one to move out and it was so sad! I forgot to take my roommates stuff she forgot out of her drawer, but she said it was okay. I still feel terrible though. We also made sure we used hand sanitizer after we finished cleaning my room. My RA was also moving out, so I got to say goodbye to him! We were going to get Chinese food for dinner, but no one answered so we made pasta and meatballs for dinner! It was so good.

March 28, 2020

Maggie McCann || March 28th, 2020

I picked up my things from my dorm today, the most excitement weve had in a few weeks honestly, and the farthest I’ve been from my house in about a month. I got to see Ryan; I’d be lying if I said there weren’t any tears. I don’t know when I’m going t get to see him again after today, it could be months. That’s the worst part of all this, not knowing when it’ll end, no count down it seems endless and its only going to get worse before it gets better.

I’m happy to have my clothes back, id been wearing the same three outfits for the past three weeks, not that I have anything to dress up for, but a nice mix of sweatpants and leggings couldn’t hurt. Its been a week since people have been moving their stuff out of their dorms, my friends across the hall have all moved their things out except for Kiara, it’s a ghost town on campus, everyone’s keeping their distance, getting in and out as fast as we can.

Classes have been going on for about a week now, most professors are keeping us organized and I appreciate that this was thrown on all of us at the same time, one of my classes was video production which was nearly all hands on so I haven’t got anything from that class yet, not sure if I might have to drop it. Schools been keeping me busy and were almost out of March, I’ve stopped watching the news, its helped a lot, nothings getting better.

March 28, 2020

March 28, 2020

Today I worked on one of my group school projects. I didn’t really do much, but it isn’t due for like 3 weeks. I feel like I have so much homework, but I really don’t I just stress over it. I have been watching a lot of Netflix and I think tonight I am going to use Netflix party with my boyfriend so we can start a show together! I am really excited.

March 27, 2020

March 27, 2020

Today I watched a movie for my history class and read the article also for it. I then began writing the paper and I got about halfway through it. I also worked a little on my music paper again because I found out I could add more to it. For dinner I had pizza with pulled pork on top and it was really good!

March 26, 2020

March 26, 2020

Today I woke up for my Nutrition class online and learned a lot. I really enjoy that class, but it was better in person since it is a very hands on class. I also started one of my papers for my orchestra class which I’m not too happy about because I can’t seem to get to the word limit, but I will work on it! It’s not due until May so I have time! I’m super bored and I have trouble falling asleep because I don’t do much during the day so I’m not really using energy. My mom suggested working out in the basement but no thanks!

March 25, 2020

Maggie McCann || March 25th. 2020

Roughly day nine of self-isolation, I would have had my 8am film class today, followed by Environmental Sustainability at 9am, with a break in classes after usually to go eat, shower/ get ready for the day, then a 12pm video production class. Usually id study for the after noon and have dinner with my friends at 7pm and spent the night with Ryan until I went to sleep.

Ryan had an overnight shift last night but a few hours before he had to leave for it the shift the White House announced anyone who’s left the NYC area within the last 14 days, this includes Ryan, must self-quarantine for two weeks. So Ryan had to decide whether or not to go in. He’s been working with the public for a few weeks now and only worked after close for the last three days so he decided to go in. The new rule also effects whether or not I can get my things from my dorm when im scheduled to on Saturday.

We found out too that my friend, and my sister boyfriend Jonathan’s friend has tested positive for COVID, I had seen Jonathan the weekend Ryan came to visit and Jonathan had seen his friend the day before so now I’m hyper aware of  every time I sneeze.

I’ve been way busier with schoolwork than I was expecting, I’m taking a trip to target today I think, after classes, I’m really looking forward to leaving the house. Were taking gloves and hand sanitizer with us just in case.

March 25, 2020

March 25, 2020

Today I didn’t really do much but I did get a lot of homework done and I am like 3 weeks ahead of homework. I sometimes think I won’t finish all my homework in time so I panic and do it all really early. I guess it is kind of a good thing and a bad thing! I also had my HUEC class and it is always hard to focus because I really do not enjoy that class. I hate being inside and home with my sister. My parents even asked me to start dinner which I did but didn’t really want to do. I think we are having chicken parm for dinner which is really exciting! I cannot believe the school gave us an extra week of spring break.

Maggie McCann || March 24th, 2020

Although this is my first entry, I am roughly a week and one day into self quarantine with my family. I’ve been home from school now two and a half weeks, a week and a half longer than anyone was expecting.

When I left for spring break on March 5th a world pandemic was nowhere on my mind, nowhere in the news, it was not a possibility. As the week went on the world seemed to change overnight. I left on Friday, by Monday schools were closing, the news was on 24/7, but it still felt temporary, a news story that would pass in a week leaving nothing but some examples of the worst and the best of humanity and a few new memes. By Friday it was practically at my doorstep. The number of cases, especially in New York, have been rising by the hundreds day and SUNY schools are officially closed. This was not going away any time soon.

No one was prepared for this, especially my friends from school, other than me and my sister we all live no closer than an hour or two from eachother. We knew we’d have to leave for summer, but we still had so much to do. Formals to go to, birthdays to celebrate and for a few of us, Julie, Karla, and so many more people I know, graduation was around the corner. My friends Julie, Katie and Adalyne, weve all decided to facetime once a week to keep in touch, but were still so lonely stuck at home.

I’m away from my boyfriend too, Ryan. We had a pretty great set up living a dorm away from each other at school but Albany and Staten Island are a bit farther apart. The weekend before everything really shut down he came to visit, just incase he couldn’t by Monday.

He spent three days here, e tried his first New York City bagel and loved it (of course) and I got to show him my highschool and he met more of my family it was an amazing weekend, he left Monday, I have no idea when ill get to see him again.

Monday was definitely my worst day, I couldn’t look at social media, any news I just wanted to shut out everything “COVID” “virus” “pandemic” I am incredibly overstimulated i need school to start back up because I cannot take much more of this.