Every student’s life has a varying degree of structure. For better or for worse, we all have schedules and routines that we become accustomed to over time, which can provide us with a sense of normalcy. Over the past month, many students across the globe have experienced the structure of their lives undergo a very sudden shift due to the current pandemic. While it is important to be able to adapt and overcome these kinds of sudden obstacles, it can be useful to hold on to some degree of normalcy. It can help us stay grounded, prepared, and better connected with the people we care about.
I spoke with current Samford SGA President Heath Padgett and UAB student Jerome Takeda about their experiences with these new challenges and asked them about how they have been weathering the storm.
How have your everyday routines been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
“At Samford I was used to a very structured routine. I way always on the go, walking across campus from one class or meeting to the next. It has definitely been an adjustment having to reconfigure my routines at home due to the pandemic. In some ways there has been more flexibility in my daily routine, and in other ways there has been less. With many asynchronous classes and assignments, I have found more flexibility and less routine in much of my schoolwork which has its pros and cons. I have appreciated how many of my classes have tried to establish structure in the online classroom by trying to provide more consistent assignment schedules. Overall, my routine is similar to how it was before, but now the order of things varies from day-to-day.”
“My day can now start whenever I want it to start. If I need to, I can sleep in and still be productive since I have so much more free time to fill.”
In what ways have you been able to stay productive?
“I have enjoyed staying productive while at home due to the pandemic. I have been able to continue most of my regular meetings with student groups and Samford’s administration through many phone calls and video conferences. In fact, it seems like I have been in even more meetings since the crisis began because of how important frequent communication can be in times like these. I’m also able to stay productive in my free time as well. Being at home, I am able to help around the house as well as work on hobbies such as building a boat.”
“I’m able to stay productive by setting small goals for myself throughout the day. This stops me from procrastinating as much, and it feels better to accomplish small goals one at a time rather than nothing at all.”
What have you and your loved ones done to preserve a sense of “normalcy” during these turbulent times?
“My family and I have been able to preserve a sense of normalcy by drawing closer together as a family. We have enjoyed playing games together, watching tv or movies together at night, and sharing meals together.”
“We’ve started playing competitive card games like Uno. Competition brings out the best and the worst in my family, so having a time to argue and laugh makes everything feel more normal for us.”
Do you have any advice for students struggling to adapt to the new social distancing guidelines and online education?
“I think it is very important to maintain community with those we are not able to be around. I have been very grateful for the communities that I am a part of that are still able to be active in group chats, video conferences, etc. These include student organizations like Samford Crew and SGA, as well as my Church small group and Sunday school class. It’s never too late to reach out to a group or individual and connect during this time of isolation.”
“Students should diversify how they fill their time. It is super easy for someone to get dragged into watching tv or playing games all day, so try to mix it up. Set aside some time to finish tasks, workout, and even nap.”
What are you looking forward to most about post-pandemic life?
“I look forward to the day when I can see my friends face-to-face again. I also look forward to having the opportunity to travel to businesses and activities freely. I miss being able to gather at Church, eat inside a restaurant, study in a coffee shop, or go inside stores that aren’t grocery stores.”
“I look forward to the feeling of having a choice. I’ve always wished for a day where I can just stay at home, but now that it’s mandatory, it isn’t really enjoyable. I want to have the ability to choose again.”