To protect themselves against the spread of COVID-19, families across America isolated themselves in their homes, finding creative ways to pass the time and learning important lessons along the way. In today’s blog, MBU journalism students provide their personal experiences during the coronavirus pandemic and how they are dealing with these difficult times. This is Part 1 of a three-part series.
This story is part of a series of ongoing stories and analyses produced by MBU Timeline staff members, focusing on several aspects of COVID-19 and how it has changed the lives of students, faculty members, athletes … everyone. Photo by Hannah Leahy — Graphic by Dylan White
Quarantine Lets Me Work on Writing Music
By TRISTON BUCKLEY
This virus has affected many of us and our daily lives, forcing us to readjust what we do day to day.
Luckily the virus has not been too bad here in Missouri, really, like the bigger cities such as New York or Los Angeles. Although the virus is not that big here in Missouri, it still affects higher education institutions and the students who go to these colleges.
Staying in isolation and readjusting to life with limited freedom for such an extended amount of time can take a toll mentally and physically.
This is something like we have never seen before, and social distancing is something new that many people have to take time to get used to.
With classes moving online, students who are used to going to class in a classroom have to find a way to do classes online. It’s very unfortunate the timing of this, not knowing exactly what will meet us when fall classes resume.
Also, for student-athletes it is especially unfortunate as most spring athletes never even got their season started. A whole year of anticipation turned into disappointment.
For me as a golfer at MBU, my season just started when it ended.
For students coming over to the U.S. from different countries to play athletics and study abroad, like some of my teammates, they were stuck in limbo for a couple of weeks not knowing whether the season would be delayed or if they would need to go back before a travel ban was put in place.
During this time of isolation, I’ve tried to keep my mind right and keep my body physically fit as I know it is very important.
As my interest is in music and writing, most days I spend writing lyrics.
I spend my days trying to develop and improve my writing so that I can master my craft of being a songwriter and strengthen my weaknesses. This is something I’m passionate about and something I enjoy.
Writing music and listening to music is a form of therapy for me personally as it allows me to escape into my own world and escape reality. It helps keep my thoughts from being cooped up in my head and instead written into a notebook.
The isolation has not been as bad for me as it may be for other people.
I’m very used to keeping to myself and being a homebody, but still, being inside for an extended amount of time will have a toll on me and anybody in the long run, so keeping good mental health is a priority.
Staying physically fit is important to me too. Any chance I can get to get outside and keep my distance from people helps relieve the natural depression and anxiety I already have.
These are weird times for all of us, but I know we can and will get through it eventually.
COVID-19 is the Latest in 2020’s Challenges
By JAZZ TERRELL
It is safe to say that the year 2020 has been quite hectic so far these past few months. First with the whole threat of a Third World War breaking out, now with COVID-19 completely shutting down the whole world.
As the threat continues to affect citizens around the world, either physically by ways of health, or mentally by ways of being stuck at home all hours of the day, people are beginning to become restless and eager to get back to their lives.
Marva R. Martin, 73, once a renowned IPS school teacher throughout the Indianapolis area, now retired, shares her concerns about this epidemic.
“I think it is a terrible virus that’s worldwide at this point, and they have no cure for it. It has gotten completely out of control,” Martin said.
She expressed her concerns for young people who weren’t taking heed of the government’s warning to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“My deepest worry is that you millennials,” as she pointed to me, “think that you are invincible and that you believe that you can’t catch it. But, this is a serious issue. People are dying from this virus, people are losing loved ones.
“And it’s not so much that you can’t go outside or be active. I’m not saying stay cooped up in your room or sleep the whole day away ’cause God knows you do that on a normal basis anyways. It’s important to take the proper precautions to stay healthy. Washing your hands and having proper hygiene, social distancing, washing your clothes after being outside and only going outside for essential things. And watching the news to stay informed because you guys don’t watch the news enough,” she said, directing her comments toward millennials.
I asked her if she had ever seen something like this before in her life. She quickly responded, “No, never in my life has something like this happened. I just pray that this will all end quickly and things go back to normal.”
Turn Our Eyes to God
By MAKAYLA SONG
In the midst of this confusion all we can depend on is our loved ones. Whether you are quarantined with family, friends, roommates or anyone else, now is the time to get to know one another and address real fears regarding this virus.
“I mean, all we can really do is pray,” my mom said as she grabbed a marshmallow from the pantry. “We can’t let the fear drown us.”
For my 15-year-old brother, Hunter, schedules are the last thing he wants.
“I want to just wake up when I want, but mom makes me get up at 9 to start school. I get things done, I just want my space again.”
When five people of all different age levels and workloads have to stay at home and be in each other’s way constantly, it can get tedious.
Like for Gracelyn, my 9-year-old sister, she can’t stand not playing with her friends outside. It’s gotten to the point where she cries when she isn’t allowed to go with us when one of us has to leave to get groceries, saying, “If I don’t leave this house I’m going to go insane!”
We all have seriously tested our limits. My brother can’t hang out with his friends, my sister can’t ride bikes with the kid across the street, my dad has to spend his work hours in the basement and my mom is out of work altogether.
My dad at the dinner table the other night said, “I’m going to drive to work every day, like y’know, around the neighborhood once or twice, then come home and feel like I went somewhere.” My mom wasn’t pleased about it because of the waste of gas, so my dad just runs in the mornings now.
For me, I’m taking this time to really focus on my hobbies. I’m painting again, writing music, exercising, even practicing a skin care routine.
But I miss my friends. I miss my boyfriend. I miss my job at Old Navy. I miss being able to go to the Zoo anytime. Heck, I miss those awful long drives to my other job in Kirkwood.
“I think God is trying to slow us down from our high-paced lives and give us a chance to reflect on our lives with him,” my mom said, before we watched “Three Men and a Baby” the other night. “Prayer is what we have right now, we need to focus on the Lord.”
In today’s society we really do live life in the fast lane. So much is always being done, being said or needs to be done.
Let’s take this time to stop focusing on what we ourselves want and start to turn our gaze toward what God might be leading us to.
“Notice how Christ’s resurrection day is right in the midst of all this global panic. What’s more biblical than that? God says to turn to him in these times; to rest our faith in his name. We as Christians need to remember that God already wins the battle in the end. He’s got us. No virus is bigger than God. No shortage of toilet paper. We need to just trust in him. Pray. That’s all,” my dad said while chomping on his bowl of Cheetos.
Connecting with Others is Difficult in Isolation
By ERIN DUNNEGAN
Have you ever been alone? I mean truly and completely cut off from all the other people in the world?
That’s how it feels when you live by yourself in a time of social distancing.
I can go days at a time without talking to a single person. I wake up alone, work alone, and go to bed, you guessed it, alone.
How does one keep themselves sane?
It is a well known fact that humans are social creatures, that they need interaction with one another.
Even if you consider yourself to be extremely introverted, biologically you need connection with someone else mentally, emotionally and physically.
What has helped me is that I have a routine for myself that I follow every day.
I start my day with a small breakfast and sit to focus on school work. I take a break around 11:30 a.m. and have lunch.
I spend the early part of the afternoon working from home. After work, I clean a different room every day. It is how I have been honestly keeping the days apart.
The evening is when I try to contact other people. I try to talk to my family and friends, but sometimes our schedules cannot seem to match.
One of the people I talk to the most is my boyfriend, Paul Majewski. He is in the same boat as me where he is also living alone.
I asked him how he manages the isolation.
“It helps that I still have a job to physically go to,” Majewski said. “I still have my manager and others that I see on a daily basis. My family also set up a group chat that we use to keep in touch with one another. Although they drive me crazy sometimes, it’s nice to know that they are all OK.”
We are living in a strange time, but humans are strong. We will bounce back.
My advice is to take everything one day at a time. Don’t stress about the future. Always remember that God is in control.