BWW BLOG: Stuck in a Rut- Finishing My Semester at Home
Hey guys, Jess here. As I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing about, the COVID-19 virus has caused college campuses across the world to cease in-person classes and commence online learning. This is obviously a huge disappointment for so many students, especially graduating college seniors and second year grads. My heart aches for them, especially.
Before my school announced that we were moving online for the rest of the semester, the initial plan was to take two weeks after spring break to hold class virtually, and then return to in-person classes on April 5. So, my buddies and I said what we thought was a temporary goodbye, and headed our separate ways for spring break. It wasn't until my 24-hour drive home that I discovered I wouldn't be seeing my classmates in person for another five months.
I felt cheated. Junior year of college is when it's all supposed to start working out. I had already struggled through a rocky winter semester, and it seemed like the spring season was finally going my way. Then, Miss Rona decided to f*** it up.
So now I'm back in Las Vegas, attempting to get the same joy out of learning that I've had in the past. And it's hard.
Now, if you're anything like me, you might be feeling woefully uninspired and dejected. Frankly, this article is the last thing I wanted to start writing because creating anything right now just seems out of reach. With the situation as it is, I don't feel the drive to write and sing and dance and create. Hopefully (and surely) this will pass, but I trust I'm not alone in the inevitable couch potato-ness of my days.
Now that I've successfully bummed you out, I will attempt to reel you back in with some sort of optimism.
Just because you might feel the need to take a four-hour nap right now (I literally just woke up from one) doesn't mean that is your only option. It wasn't until a few days ago that I realized I spend a lot of time saying things like "if I wasn't so busy, I would love to try this" or "when I'm finally not drowning in schoolwork, I'll pick this up." Well, perhaps now is the chance I've been strangely needing.
It's frightening and just a bit ironic that the chance for busy college students to finally take the time to do some things they want to do can only come from a world-halting pandemic, but let's just indulge in the time we have now, shall we?
I now present a list of new activities I've been trying to do to keep myself from going absolutely insane.
1. Writing letters:
Now, I don't know if it's just me, but writing letters makes me feel, for the lack of a better word, expensive. As soon as I sit down to write a letter, I feel like a young Victorian woman writing to her lover at war while sitting in the drawing room of an expansive New Hampshire estate that she inherited from her father, an old military war general. (Perhaps this ambience is something only I imagine, but humor me). Before I left school, some of my friends exchanged addresses asking for pen pals. Now, I don't know if they were actually expecting anyone to do it, but since I am a 76-year-old woman at heart, I busted out my fountain pen and started writing. And honestly? I've really enjoyed it. I don't have a key to our mailbox, so I sit around all day waiting for my Dad to bring in the mail, just so I can run and see if I have a response yet. It feels a lot more personal than texting, and it's been really helpful to have someone to talk to who is so many miles away, and therefore, detached from my situation (sorry Mom.)
2. Going outside:
Ok, I know it sounds really sad that going outside is one of my "cute, fun, new quirky things I'm trying," but I mean like, REALLY going outside. I realized in school, I usually only go outside when I'm walking from class to class, which is a helluva lot of activity. The interesting thing about online classes, however, is that you don't even have to put on pants to be in the classroom. After my first day inside, I looked at my phone and realized that I had taken a whopping 639 steps that day, and I, as well as my thighs, were bummed. So now, I go on a walk or two every day, or I ride my bike. Obviously, I'm not telling you to go walking into a highly populated park and just start chummin' it up, but making time in my "packed" schedule to go on a walk by myself in an isolated area has really given me something to look forward to. The weather in Las Vegas is incredible right now, and I'd be a fool to not drink in the sunshine before it turns to 110 degree hellscape in a few months. Going outside and just walking for an hour at a time has allowed me to find so many new places in a neighborhood that I've lived in for 15 years of my life.
3. Leisure reading:
This might just be my case, but a lot of my teachers have really toned down the workload, meaning I can finally force myself to read, for fun! Reading is really not one of my strong suits, but when you have 10 empty hours in the day, there's no reason not to fill it with some good literature. Reading is a talent that has to be worked on, and I'm trying to use books to not only improve that skillset, but also provide a gateway to some wonderful escapism. The book I'm currently reading is "The Mysterious Affairs at Styles" by Agatha Christie, because reading about a murder mystery is far more enjoyable for me than reading about an economy-crippling, life-stealing, society-splitting virus that could be easily eradicated if people simply avoided large crowds and didn't have giant group meetings because they think they're immune to disease because they have money and power and privilege and a travel-size bottle of Purell hand sanitizer from 2009. Anyway.
This is a hobby that I LITERALLY have tried to pick up again and again for the past 8 years, and dang it, now's the time to do it! I have a guitar that goes untouched for many months out of the year, and since I don't have the access to the beautiful music school that I pay to attend, my childhood bedroom and a secondhand guitar will have to do. Guitar has the same effect on me that writing letters has...it makes me feel expensive. And I love to feel expensive while I'm jamming out with the only two chords I seem to know how to play. But for real, if I'm going to try to make it in the performance business, why not use this time when the world is on hold to better myself as an artist and make myself more castable?
Anyway, that's what I got. It's not much, but maybe it will help you out too, you poor, frightened 20 something.
This too, shall pass. I know everyone hates that phrase when they see someone's grandma post it on Facebook. But it's true. So many things in life seem like they're world-ending. I mean, at the beginning of this year, we thought World War III was about to begin. This virus is bad, and should absolutely be taken seriously, but just because we pressed the pause button on the VHS player of life, doesn't mean our personal growth and joy has to be thrown away. Use this time to discover new things about yourself. Don't let the bleakness of life right now dull your light.
Hang out with dogs, wash your hands, and for the love of all that is good and holy, stop meeting up with 10+ people in person.