Uncertain Spring

Cincinnati, Ohio -- April 22nd, 2O2O

The past weeks have certainly been unusual.

For me, the true effect of Covid-19 on my life began midway through my spring break. I had been traveling to DC on a grant from Ohio State to learn more about the uses of data in Washington. All went well over the first day, but on Monday night, I received an email from the University telling me that classes would be cancelled for the upcoming three weeks. Additionally, there was recommendation for no further travel. I had planned to continue my trip in New York City on Wednesday, but as a result of the new recommendations, I cancelled my train tickets and transferred my plane tickets to fly home on Wednesday afternoon.

On my flight home, there were no more than 10 people on the 100-person airplane: an eerie experience which my flight attendant said she had never seen in her 18-year career.

Upon arrival back to Ohio, I received an additional email moving all classes online for the remainder of the school year. Knowing my time would be better spent at home in Cincinnati, I made a quick trip up to Columbus to gather my clothes, fish tanks, and a bottle of hand sanitizer that I had on my desk. Back in Cincinnati, I was left with a dilemma- how do I reestablish a routine?

Over the past year at college, I have worked hard to get a regular routine in place. While not followed strictly every day, the habits I have formed have helped me with my mental health, productivity, and overall improved the quality of my life. At school, some of the main components of my routine included exercise, 3 meals a day, reading time, and intentionally planned time for developing my relationships. Before spring break, everything had clicked, I was happy, productive, and optimistic for what lied ahead.

But now, I was at home. Without the gym, without my friends, and without all the resources that the campus community provides to me. Still, the importance of that routine, and the positive effects that I have seen stuck with me. I knew what I needed to do.

Now, mid-April, I have developed a routine which has become habit. I start each day with a run or walk, drink a pour-over of my favorite coffee, and practice my Spanish skills. The meat and potatoes of each day is different, but by working from my desk and defining it as my place for being productive, I have been able to establish a mindset which has made me successful in this new setting.

In online class, I always turn my camera on, both because it holds me accountable to look presentable and because I truly believe the professors deserve the peace of mind of knowing students are being attentive in their lectures. In keeping ahead of assignments, more time is available for the things I love, like reading and spending time with family.

Life is good, and I am certain part of the reason for this is the certainty of each day. There is always something to learn and something to give me a reason for being. I recommend to everyone who is privileged enough to be safe in their homes to set daily goals which are easily achievable, and to integrate them into a routine. Even in these uncertain times, we have the concrete opportunity to better ourselves. We just have to do it!