… And do everything else: homework, practice my music, get in some exercise. The only thing that I haven’t been struggling with is reading. But, with the exception of a few weeks over winter break, when I barely touched a book—think I was a little burnt out, which is not something I ever thought would happen—I very rarely get tired of reading. (Well, unless it’s for homework.)
Before the shutdowns began, I set an arbitrary deadline for myself (April 12), a date by which I would have my first draft finished. Then, about midway through March, classes began to move online and my motivation (already a fickle thing) began flagging. Over the next few weeks, I would write a chapter and a half, only to have it accidentally deleted, then write it again. I would spend those few days in—what I hesitate to term— a bit of a manic state.I have been struggling with sleep (not an unusual experience for me) but it had been particularly bad; I was not getting more than three hours a night. And when I wasn’t sleeping, I wanted to write. Who knows, perhaps I would have finished, or at least gotten a good chunk of my story written in those few days, but I eventually forced myself to stop after the second consecutive day of going to bed hours after sunrise (I didn’t want to stop, in case I lost my inspiration the next time I took up my BrailleNote).
I would also had two nonconsecutive weeks off of school. The first week was for professors to figure out how they would go about modifying in person classes for an online platform. The second, was a “recalibration” period for CUNY schools, as they figured out how to ensure that as many of their students as they could manage were able to continue their education by instituting laptop lending programs, and figuring out how to get those without, access to the Internet.
In that time, I barely touched my homework. I could not find the motivation. Especially after having to move out of my dorm with only three days notice. I understood why, of course, New York was quickly becoming a Corona Epicenter, and the city was looking to large spaces for medical beds. I had been at a friend’s when I received the notification. It’s one thing to choose to be alone in your room, quite another when it was beginning to look as though that would be where you stayed for the next two weeks… at least. But that email caused a mad scramble: get back to my dorm, pack what I could into the bags I had, and wait for my sister and former teacher to bring me more (suitcases, garbage bags, and whatever else they could think to haphazardly toss my life into).
I don’t have the best relationship with my parents, and so I was not excited to go home. I felt like the freedom I found in five years of dorming would be lost under’ my mom’s… I haven’t yet figured out the best/most descriptive word to put there. So let me try to explain instead:
The cooking I was happy to do for myself on my own would now be scrutinized. The baking I had begun to enjoy over the last semester would become curtailed as comments about safety (“don’t burn yourself”) were repeated over and over, along with remarks on my weight; whether I was baking sweets, or eating multiple meals a day. My mother prides herself on eating little…and unhealthily (bread and butter, crackers, popcorn, maybe an actual meal here or there). Also…I’m blind. So for her, it’s fine hearing about my exploits when I’m not home. And bragging about them to her friends. But at home…
To add to that, my sister bought our house my freshman year, and having spent more time in a dorm than home, it didn’t really feel like my space. Add to that the tenants, one of whom occupies my room for now, and it did not make for the most excited home going prospect.
Then there’s my dad. Ooh, the can of worms I would be opening to try to explain that relationship. He came through and showed up to help me move my things out though, which was great. But that poor relationship was just another thing weighing on my mind.
But let’s return to the dorm thing. It was an abrupt end to my dorm career. If I can get my shit together, I hope to be graduating in December, so it would make no sense to move back in (if that’s even an option in the fall). I was also planning on finding a job (no more unpaid internships for this girl!) so that I could have funds to apartment hunt. And this, Corona, threw off my entire timeline. On the topic of internships, I have an ongoing one–editing two literary magazines–that I really enjoy, but I’ve also been doing the bare minimum of work for.
Currently, I’m staying with a friend (in part for her wifi, in part to prolong going home). But I know, even if I settled into a routine with my mom, not having my room is just one of a few factors that would have me moving out as soon as possible. “What’s the other”? you wonder. Freedom! (I of course could find a job and help my sister with mortgage… but, once again, freedom, that elusive American ideal).
During all of this, I was thinking of the temporary nature of each of my situations: I would only be at my friend’s place for two months or so (her mom is under quarantine in Columbia, so I would be leaving once she returned no matter what else happened). Then going home, it would be an indefinite temporary situation. I’ve been living on temporary situations since I started college, but it was all happening one after the other in the last few weeks.Add to that what was already long-term school burn out (this post is long enough, so read
to understand why). But that situation, which is still ongoing did not help either.
The logical conclusion would be to push through, right? Get shmit done because I’m so close to the finish line? Nah, I just kind of shut down instead. Squirreling myself away in books and interacting with friends sporadically. (Which is already a thing that sometimes happens, so no one found it too strange). I was also continuing weekly music lessons at this time. Since progress was required more immediately than distant paper due dates, I practiced the bare minimum to show that, at the very least, I wasn’t regressing, if not improving.
Now, I have to weeks left of the semester, a crapton of essays to catch up on, and I’m finally excited to get back to writing and
(I’m about to venture into Booktube). Accept, now that my energy’s been, for no reason I can determine, renewed, I have to put the other things on hold so that I, hopefully make it through the semester. In April, I seriously considered just failing. And, yesterday, when contemplating just how much work I had to do, I considered it once more… but I really don’t want to spend longer on my undergrad degree than I have already.
I now have to finally get myself back into exercising… I’ve been telling myself to move everyday since mid March and only managed a handful of times. And figure out my wifi situation for when I return home. And maybe come up with blog ideas to revitalize this site. Perhaps figure out possible solutions for the summer so that I don’t find myself in this situation again as I’m stuck inside for my summer classes.
My sleep is back to something resembling normal, so hopefully that helps. Also, as I write this, I think it’s its something about the thrill of possible failure that’s got me ready to do school work. I should talk to someone about that (amongst other things).
Wish me luck
And I wish the same for you, on whatever endeavors Corona has derailed, or inspired you to pick up
Till next time