Trial and Error in Quarantine

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When I think about the way with which I’ve dealt with being on quarantine this past week, I honestly am a tad disappointed.

With my fourth week of online classes down in the books, I’ve honestly never felt more frustrated with my inability to get through my assignments in as effective a way as I would have liked. I didn’t get outside in the way I wanted. I wasn’t it the person I just generally am. And in many ways, the past day or so, I’ve just been trying to think about why I haven’t been that person. Why am I not being the person I want to be? Why am I not valuing my time and my skills to be a productive person in the world?

And then, I just look out and see everything else that is going on. I think about the way with which I’ve not been able to go five minutes, much less a day without thinking about everything else that is going on in the world. I acknowledge the immense privilege I have right now to not be stressing about having a home or not being a student. But, as I wrote about weeks ago, I cannot deny that I am still feeling a substantial amount of frustration with the fact that we’re expected as students to maintain the same sense of rigor and intensity in an environment in times a where that just is not feasible. This reality is something that some have been able to figure out, but that just isn’t me right now.

My enthusiasm that I’m used to having as a student has slowed down, and I’m trying to investigate more precisely, what am I going to do about it? That’s the dilemma that I don’t want to have to deal with right now, but I know it still is something that I have to change. Where is that innate sense of optimism that never lets me down in unprecedented times?

I think the first step I need to take is one of acceptance. I cannot expect myself to be the same person I was before all of this. That is what I think has been making it so much more challenging for me to move to a step where I can begin to grow. I keep fooling myself into thinking that I can just snap back into working on an assignment as I used to after taking a break, but I’m realizing more and more that just isn’t the case. Especially during this midterm season, I’ve noticed in particular that my behavior just is not going to be back to what it was until we get back to campus.

The next step I need to take relies upon the fact that my workspace is also my rest space. Taking zoom calls in the same place I sleep is my reality right now and the separation between work and rest did not exist at all for the past few years of school. I have to learn how to be disciplined enough to separate and make the necessary distinctions between the two to grow. Whether that is maintaining a habit of actually wearing non-sweatpants or getting breakfast and getting ready for the day at least somewhat normally, I can begin to make this feel not as difficult to treat my room as the library or a coffee shop.

Perhaps the most important part of everything that I need to push myself harder to do is to just get outside the house. Whether that means just driving or taking a walk, or finding a space to put down a blanket and read, I need to make this a daily part of my life. I have done that a bit more the past few days, but even if I don’t want to leave, I need to make myself do it for my sanity. Any chance of feeling a bit less redundant in my routine will substantially help my well-being.

These are all things that I do not know whether I can follow through on. But maybe if I write them down, force myself to read through over and over again, then maybe I can begin to put these into action. I don’t know when I’ll see people from less than six feet away, but I can focus in on that day as my motivation to make the most of this social distancing time to better myself for that day. It will be here eventually.

Being Noah Tesfaye #129: Trial and Error in Quarantine

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Just someone trying to share my story and find who I am, one post at a time

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