Elena Erdekian '20, Government and Economics major
Did you change your spring break plans because of the virus? From what to what?
My tennis team was supposed to go to Puerto Rico for spring break. Two days before we were supposed to leave, the trip was abruptly cancelled. That was the beginning of the end. I was so upset then; I was so excited for my last spring break with my teammates, and Puerto Rico is unlike anywhere we've ever gone before. Looking back, losing just spring break seems so insignificant compared to everything else that was taken away. We all parted our separate ways, expecting to see each other in just a few weeks to continue our season. That was the last time we were all together.
How did you feel when you were informed the remainder of the semester would be held online?
I felt numb. That week felt surreal, and I didn't really process any of it until the day I moved out of Conn. It didn't feel real; everything was falling apart right before my eyes through an overload of emails and announcements behind my screen, and I could barely keep up. As much as I tried to mentally prepare myself, I knew that I couldn't prevent the emotional pain that was soon to come.
Where are you living for the rest of the semester? How did you feel about leaving campus? Or what's it like remaining on campus?
I'm at home, and I'm lucky to be able to be in a place where I can quarantine safely and comfortably. Leaving campus was one of the hardest days of my life. It was supposed to be the day we returned from spring break, the start of senior spring, a time I have been dreaming of since I was a freshman. Campus felt dreary and grim; it didn't feel the same, and I'm trying to not let that image taint my cherished memories of Conn. We were told to leave as fast as possible and not interact with others or drive through campus, so I wasn't even able to catch a glimpse of Tempel Green on the way out or say bye to so many people. Driving away, I didn't know the next time I would ever be back, and I still dont know when that day will be.
What has been your experience with moving classes online? What's good? What's not so good?
Ive had a relatively good experience with my online classes. I still have about the same amount of work as I had at school. If anything, I have more assignments to complete that I wouldnt have had on campus. Its tough and tiresome sitting at the same spot in my house hours a day attending class and doing work, day after day, not having anything to look forward to. Ive been spending more time on school work because it takes my mind off reality and is the only reminder that Im still supposed to be in college.
How has the virus (and the precautions taken to prevent it spreading) impacted your daily life?
Like everyone, its changed the way I live my life. I was already kind of a germaphobe before the pandemic, but this has escalated it. Im much more aware of germs in my home and paranoid about anything that enters the house, thinking of what it might have touched and crossed paths with. I havent gone out to stores or picked up food, but Ive been running outside regularly. Im now wearing a mask outside, even when running, per orders of the state. Anytime I come close to someone on the sidewalk, I usually run to the other side of the street and turn my head away from them. Im paranoid because either of us could be an asymptomatic carrier and I dont want to risk giving it or getting it to/from them.
Do you know anyone who has gotten COVID-19?
Yes, and they are okay now luckily.
Are you staying in? What are you doing to pass the time?
Im staying completely in unless Im walking outside or going for a run. Now that its getting nicer out, Im spending more time outside in my yard. During the school week, Im in a pretty solid routine of going to class and getting work done which keeps me busy. The weekends are tougher because theres not much to do, and it just reminds me of the fun times I would have been having at school. Ive been focusing on trying to stay physically healthy and in a good routine and sleep schedule. I've been running longer distance, and trying to build my strength and flexibility by doing at home workout and yoga videos. Creating that structure and organization has really helped me stay productive during this time.
What is giving you hope and/or strength right now?
There isnt anything certain in my future that I can look forward to. But I know that every day is one day closer to the end of this. Im taking it one day at a time. I trust our local and state governments to make the best decisions to keep society both safe and functioning. All I can do is follow the rules and do my part to comply by staying home and minimizing my interactions with others. Im lucky to be healthy and have the privilege to be able to stay home. Other people have it a lot worse, and there is still so much in my life that Im grateful for.
Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about what you're feeling or experiencing right now?
The nicer the weather is getting, the harder this is getting for me. Every sunny day is a reminder of how beautiful Conn would look right now. Every blooming flower I see makes me envision the pink blossoming trees outside the library. The perfect weather on what would have been Floralia hurt me the most; I cant even put into words how much all these special moments and events this spring would have meant to me. It pains me to know I will never experience life at Conn again or be there to see campus burst into spring. Letting go of your life and home of four years and entering the real world isnt easy enough, even without this terrible ending. I was already dreading the day I would have to say goodbye and move on from everything Ive known and loved, and this abrupt ending made it feel beyond incomplete and empty. My college days are over, and I will never get the meaningful closure and ending that I thought was so certain and secure. Its been almost two months now, and as time goes on, my life at Conn is being pushed deeper into the past, becoming just a distant memory that I will never get back.