Today is Wednesday, August 26th, 2020. I am sitting in my dorm room, currently on day 7 of a government mandated 14 day quarantine. Ireland has required that all Americans who enter Ireland must restrict their movements and self-isolate for two weeks. With me choosing to attend graduate school in the middle of a global pandemic, I must abide by these rules. But quarantine can be hard when you’re over 3,000 miles away from home. Away from family and friends. Away from familiar comforts. Dropped into a life that I experienced ephemerally 6 years ago, but am now back as a full-blown “adult.”
Even though right now seems like a terrible time to be attending graduate school abroad, I am trying to tell myself that this may be the best time in modern history to go back to school. Along with the normal challenges of graduate school, I am currently abroad in a foreign country, in the middle of a global pandemic. These challenges, as most people would see them, I believe are just part of the many stepping stones, many interesting obstacles to overcome throughout this next year. Constantly unaware of what will happen each day, whether campus will be shut down and we will be sent home, or if we switch to all online courses – I’m excited for all of this unknown. It feels like freshman year of undergrad all over again. Except with stricter guidelines and uncertainty ever-looming ahead.
So with only a week left in this quarantine, I am trying to find productivity in my days. By setting a schedule for myself while in isolation, I can try to insert consistency and structure into my everyday, which can sometime feel stagnant and redundant. And hopefully with this schedule, I can carry it with me throughout the academic year. The list that I currently have consists of:
- Exercising once per day
- Writing once per day
- Reading for at least one hour per day
- Order out only when you can’t stand broccoli, carrots, and Nutella toast anymore
To me right now, this seems like a pretty good list. These are also things I should be doing everyday anyway, but have found little motivation to these past several months. Whether it was the global pandemic stressing me out, spiraling downward due to being furloughed from my job for a month, or not knowing if grad school was going to still happen – I have been unmotivated this year to really just make time in my day for reflection and meditation. But I’m hoping to change that in a positive way while I’m over here, and really just make time for myself again.
“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” – Henry David Thoreau
Until next time,