These are very strange times. To be in a foreign country far away from home when COVID-19 has stopped everyday life is not just daunting but is also very stressful. There is so much uncertainty, so many goodbyes and see-you-laters. Bryn Mawr recently made the shift to online classes for the whole semester. I was browsing through Facebook last night and came across something rather remarkable on my newsfeed. It was a post by a college junior urging seniors in high school to pay close attention to how all the institutions that they have applied to are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. In the grand scheme of things having institutional support, especially during times like this, is essential.
I thought about the many ways in which Bryn Mawr is trying to support me and many others like me. Students who don’t have family here in the U.S. and who cannot afford to travel internationally were allowed to stay. Students, both domestic and international, with circumstances beyond their control were mostly approved. (In the interest of ensuring proper social-distancing, unfortunately not everyone was approved to stay.)* New Dorm Dining Hall continues to provide warm meals so that we don’t have to live off of ramen noodles for the next two months. The health center has adjusted its hours of operation but is still open. Our administrative support system remains stronger than ever with professors, deans, supervisors being just an email away. Classes have adopted an optional credit/no-credit and pass/fail system. There will be more developments as we all prepare to tackle this unprecedented situation but as far as I’m concerned, I’m so glad that I chose Bryn Mawr to be my home away from home.
With most academic buildings being closed and eating in the dining halls resorting to takeout ONLY, social distancing really did get the better of me during the first few days. Both my in-person academic commitments and my extra-curricular on and off-campus activities came to an abrupt halt.
Below, I am compiling a list of recommendations that I’m following in order to get by for the next two months. I’m still a work in progress but honestly, who isn’t at a time like this?
1. Maintaining a study schedule. I found it very difficult to do any school work for the past two weeks. I realized that what was happening is beyond my control and I tried my best to get into the mindset of following a somewhat flexible schedule. I make sure I watch all my class lectures, keep in touch with my professors via email and study however much I think is feasible. I don’t usually spend more than four hours (if I’m REALLY stretching it) over school work. I just got back into the process of studying and will need to fine tune the process as I move forward.
2. Maintaining a proper sleep schedule. This is SO important. I recently got into the habit of going to bed at 3 AM because I would watch Netflix till I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. This resulted in me waking up in the afternoon and I would have a very unproductive day overall. I tried my best to fix my sleeping pattern. It wasn’t easy – I had to stay awake and avoid naps that I would usually take in the middle of the day. I just got 9 hours of sleep last night and couldn’t be happier about it.
3. Eating proper meals. This seems like such an easy thing to do but, hear me out. Given that I have to leave my cozy room in Radnor for the sole purpose of grabbing takeout and coming back, I often choose to not leave at all. The result is living off of ramen noodles and chips – neither of which have great nutritional value. I’ve made my mother and a friend who lives near the dining hall my accountability buddies so that they check-in at least once a day to see whether I’ve eaten or not.
4. Check in with family and friends. Social media has made it so easy to keep in touch with friends and family. I call my parents at least once a day now, message my friends who live off campus more than ever and try to schedule video calls with them when I can. I would encourage everyone to constantly keep in touch to their loved ones because this pandemic is affecting us all and it is important to realize that we are not alone in this. The BMC community comprising of both alums, current students and even student activities are organizing virtual events (like Step Sing!) and are providing links to a myriad of free online resources via Facebook.
5. Take a walk (avoid crowds), watch a show, play a game, work on your pre-existing hobbies, read something that is not a required reading, breathe. Some TV show and music recommendations that are my personal go-tos:
- Netflix – Money Heist, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Sacred Games, Black Mirror
- Amazon PRIME – Fleabag (my absolute favorite!), Killing Eve, Made in Heaven
- HBO – Silicon Valley, Chernobyl, Game of Thrones
Guilty pleasure – Elite, Dynasty, Imposters
6. WASH YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP!
As I have mentioned before, we are not alone in this fight against COVID-19 and there truly is something to be said about the grit of humanity during times like these because everyone is united and determined to combat COVID-19 and to ensure that their communities are safe. However, this doesn’t mean that we’re not struggling to accept the harsh truth of what has now become our reality. Our beloved seniors won’t have a graduation ceremony in May, so many wonderful on-campus events have been cancelled, I won’t be able to see my favorite band in a few weeks and I really do not know when I will see all my friends again. Bangladesh (my home country) is witnessing cases exponentially and lacks enough resources to tend to everyone. I’m so scared of what is to happen but am hopeful that we will overcome this. We will get through this.
And finally, to the Class of 2020 – thank you for everything that you’ve taught me. Thank for your relentless belief in me. Thank you for all the love that you’ve showered me with. We will meet again and I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for all of you.
Please stay safe everyone. For accurate information regarding COVID-19, please consult the CDC website
N.B: All opinions expressed in this blog post are completely my own.
Here are a few pictures that I clicked of the cherry blossoms that have bloomed all over campus over the past few days! Like changing seasons, this too is a temporary phase.