Life in Quarantine
By Noah Ledesma
How has this situation been affecting me? Honestly, not much. Life isn't very different. I'm fairly low-maintenance and introverted, and I prefer to stay at home when I can. This is pretty much how I'd be living anyway.
I haven't been able to hang out in person with my friends because of the stay-at-home order. A little irritating, but because of our schedules and the distance (they mostly live in the bay now) we don't hang out much that often anyway. We've been working around that by messaging each other, having video chats, and playing games online together.
Attending church via livestream was a little weird at first, but we got the hang of it. Other than that, being at home hasn't affected me as much as it has other people.
I have a lot of experience with online classes. I actually prefer them over standard classes; I end up with more free time, less expenses, and they're a lot easier to work in to my schedule.
I live 30 minutes away from campus (on a good day), and the amount of hours I'd be spending on the road driving to and from school in a week this semester is 7 hours. Not only am I saving money on gas (I did the math, I'm saving about $140-$160), but that's 7 more hours I can spend on getting homework done, which means I get more free time during the week to spend with my family, do chores around the house, and relax. And that's not including the amount of time it takes to get ready to leave, or to decompress when I get home.
The biggest challenge for me has become waking up on time. Most of my classes have Zoom meetings at regular class time, and thankfully the ones scheduled earlier in the morning aren't mandatory. The professor uploads recordings for those who can't make it. But when my body knows that it doesn't technically have to wake up, it becomes so much harder to do so. I set my alarm for 8:00 AM, and end up waking up at 9:00 or later.
Other than that, this transition hasn't hindered me much personally. However, I understand that a lot of students are struggling to adjust.
I was actually looking forward to working during our spring break. I used to work in the Social Sciences department at Delta College, and my boss Sharon was willing to give me hours. I was able to work for that week, and when spring break was extended, she even let me come in a bit the following week.
I love Delta College, but they’ve always been the last school to respond to any sort of crisis. I remember back when the wildfires were going strong, and the campus was cloaked with smoke, it took a while before the school was shut down. In this present crisis, they decided to keep as few people on campus as possible; any lab-based classes would still be meeting while the others would be moved online, along with most employees. As a result, I got sent home.
I'm still grateful for getting to work half a week longer than I anticipated, and thankfully I'm not in any desperate need of money. I still live with my family, so I've got a support network, and we've been paying for what's left of my tuition with money that my dad put away. I've taken it upon myself to at least cover the other expenses, like gas, textbooks, and other class materials, but there's no real pressure there.
However, I'm well aware that not everyone is in the same boat. A lot of people have no choice but to work. If they don't work, they don't eat. And it doesn't help that some employers (usually the larger corporations) haven't been very compassionate to their employees. Lots of small businesses around town are still open for take-out only, struggling to stay in business.
The last time I checked, the Wal-Mart parking lot is still as packed as ever. I assume Costco is the same way. Last time I was there, the entire section that normally holds water, paper towels, and toilet paper was all but barren, and there was a small stack of boxes that had those restaurant paper towels (the rectangle ones that fold out.)
What kills me about the hoarding and panic-buying is that many people seem to think they can hoard milk and bread. Their shelf life is terrible. Toilet paper I can at least understand, but what are they gonna do with a bunch of moldy bread and spoiled milk?
In order to avoid the frenzy in stores, mom has been ordering from online. She's been tipping the delivery drivers generously to thank them for their work, and to help compensate them for putting themselves out there.
Out of all of us, she's been most affected by the situation. She's worried that my sister and older brother, who still leave to go to work, are going to catch the virus, and she's bought more food and supplies than can fit in our pantry and fridge. To be fair, none of us really knows how long this will last, so I'm just being patient with her and doing my best to reassure her.
I think we'll be fine. I just hope everyone else will be, too.