The Collegian
Sunday, July 05, 2020

A day in the life of social distancing: My daily routine

<p>Graphic by Nina Joss</p>

Graphic by Nina Joss

Perhaps the scariest parts about COVID-19 are the uncertainty about the virus itself, its rapid spread and confusion about how we carry on. No matter how many news sources we consult, experts we listen to or emails we read, it seems no one knows the answers to the most pressing questions. In a world where college students can easily find answers to their questions through email, conversations or the news, we have somehow lost that control. 

And yes, that is scary. 

But I have learned that nothing helps ease this anxiety and feeling of uncertainty like taking charge of the aspects of your life that you are able to control. For me that meant my daily routine. With this in mind, I would like to share my Monday-Friday routine as I navigate this new world of college from home with the help of my mother, who has been working from home for quite some time. 

My routine varies depending on the number of classes I have. I am working with a lighter course load this semester — I am only enrolled in three full-time courses. My professors each have their own way of conducting courses, ranging from live Zoom classes to pre-recorded lectures or Blackboard assignments. 

Although we just started distance learning, I have naturally adopted the following schedule:

Monday/Wednesday/Friday 

I sleep in a little and have more flexibility because I do not have class on these days. 

9:15-10 a.m. As soon as I wake up, I try to do yoga with my mom and watch the morning news -- the "Today" show is my favorite. The structured physical activity makes me feel in control.

10-2:30 p.m. I shower, eat breakfast and watch more television than I am willing to admit. Actually, I will be honest and say that I have watched nearly four seasons of "This Is Us" in the past week, but I am trying to give myself a little grace as I navigate this uncertain time. I would encourage everyone to do the same. 

2:30-5 p.m. I am typically running essential errands for my mom, such as going to the grocery store or picking up medicine, as she is much busier than I am on these days. I am taking the shelter-in-place order from Dallas County, where I live, extremely seriously and avoid hanging out with friends or in unnecessary places where I can pass the virus to vulnerable people without knowing I am carrying it. 

5-7 p.m. Zoom and FaceTime have been my best friends as I navigate this time. Most of the meetings and obligations I had on campus, such as Westhampton College Government Association and group project meetings, are now happening virtually, so I conquer those on these less structured days. 

7-9 p.m. I usually spend the evening helping my mom pick up or prepare dinner, something that is new to both of us--who shamelessly do not cook and are used to eating at our favorite Dallas restaurants every day, which are all now closed. 

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9-10 p.m. As the night comes to a close, I try to stay away from the screen by reading the novels I don’t always have the time to read while on campus. I highly recommend "Dear Edward," "Where the Crawdads Sing" and "Evvie Drake Starts Over" if you are looking for any good reads. I fall asleep pretty quickly and try to get eight to ten hours of sleep to remain healthy during this time. 

Tuesday/Thursday 

I have three classes on these days and little time for much else. I wake up, eat a quick breakfast and log on to my computer. 

9:30-10:45 a.m. The morning begins with my News Media and Society class. We meet via Zoom on Tuesdays to catch up and discuss the news cycle and our upcoming projects. I find comfort in being able to see my classmates and maintain a certain aspect of normalcy. On Thursdays, we do Blackboard lectures, readings and quizzes with virtual office hours. 

After that class, I have a few minutes to stretch, grab a snack or chat with my mom before Copy Editing. 

11-12:15 p.m. Mike Spear, my Copy Editing professor, is still navigating technology and distance learning. But he is figuring it out, even if we start class a few minutes late. This class meets via Zoom regularly because we have remaining complex grammar and language concepts to learn. 

12:30-1:15 p.m. Following another break, I have Justice and Civil Society, which only meets via Zoom on Tuesdays. We have to overcome challenges such as figuring out how to take a midterm online or viewing PowerPoints and asking questions virtually, but it is going as smoothly as I would expect. 

3-6:30 p.m. After a neighborhood walk, I spend the time before dinner working on what was assigned in my courses because it makes me feel better to be productive while I am still in a work mode. You could interpret that as either me being responsible or as me making more time for TV on the days I don’t have class-- you pick.


Obviously, this is not a perfect schedule, and I don’t think it ever will be. Online school and work is a new world for most of the global population, and we have to remind ourselves of that when we feel defeated. 

Yes, I have been eating more snacks than I should, watching more TV and scrolling through social media constantly, but that is all okay. As long as we try to stay on track; come up with a routine that works for each of us, no matter what others think, and remember that this pandemic will all be over eventually. We can get through this. 

This is the first installment of a three-part series to be published about social distancing.

Contact lifestyle writer Kay Johnson at kay.johnson@richmond.edu.

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