Oberlin Blogs


March 25, 2020

Charlize Villasenor ’23

Oberlin Wilder Bowl
Photo credit: Charlize Villaseñor

Obies and non-Obies alike, I hope social distancing has been treating you well. Back home, El Paso has been put under a shelter-in-place order so that’s what I’ve been up to lately. While I’ve been away from classes, and most of the world in general, I’ve realized that social distancing can be pretty difficult, especially for those like me who are extroverts. While the coronavirus has presented some challenges across the board, it has also allowed me to do a handful of things and appreciate certain aspects of my life that I wasn’t able to before.

Primarily, appreciate your friends and family! A week before students got an email stating we would have to leave campus, I was planning a trip with a friend to go to New York for spring break. I was getting closer with my coworkers at my new job, meeting people from the surrounding area of Oberlin, and getting to know my classmates better. The weekend we were expected to leave was filled with plenty of plans that I had to cancel so I could pack my things. I’ve changed out coffee dates for iMessage games and going over to my friends’ rooms for Facetime calls.

While it’s definitely different, it’s not too bad. I haven’t had too many classes over Zoom yet, so I can’t say how that will go, but this transition from regular life to the current state has gone smoother than expected.

For those of you reading who might be running out of ideas on how to pass time, or make the most of this time if that’s your thing, then this post is for you! I know that there’s a pressure to be ultra productive during this period, but it’s not realistic for most people. On the other hand, some people need a bit more structure so they don’t fall into a slump. I’m one of those people. So what I’ve been doing lately is setting daily goals. They aren’t necessarily the same every day and they don’t have to be super drastic or large scale. Here’s some of what I’ve been doing lately!

  • Deep Cleaning. And I mean DEEP. I’m not just putting things where they belong, but I’m also deciding what I should toss or donate and how to better organize my belongings. I’ve started with my desk, and I plan to continue with my dresser, what’s under my bed, and my closet. I’m a sentimental person, so I often get caught up in the things from my past that I’ve found, but now I have quite a bit of time to do that if I so desire. Additionally, it’s helped clear up space in my room and in my mind even if I can only do a little bit a day.
  • Writing (obviously). I didn’t have as much time to put out all the posts I wanted to while I was on campus, but now I know I can put out content while keeping my writing skills from getting rusty. Even if you don’t prefer to write to an audience, writing in a journal or writing an academic paper for fun (yes, it’s possible) helps keep writing skills sharp and keeps you from being bored. I have friends who’ve written short pieces aimed at other friends about why they embody the stereotypical traits of a certain astrological sign. The topics of these papers are completely up to you, and could help you discover a passion for writing!
  • Watching movies. I know this one might seem less productive, but I usually don’t watch many movies, and watching classics that most people know or are referred to in pop culture has been pretty satisfying. This week, I saw all of the Twilight movies. Who knows what next week will bring?
  • Reading. On a slightly related note, I’ve also started reading classics that I’ve had sitting on the bookshelf for years. While some can be a bit dry, it’s a nice break from the screen and reading only for class. If you’re trying to improve your language skills in a second language, reading children's books or comic books can be helpful. These types of books usually provide enough context through pictures to help the reader understand the plot. 
  • Learning life skills. Though it’s pretty important to learn how to cook or stitch up a hole in a shirt, not all of us can say we know how to do it (or how to do it well). While I can cook well enough to survive, my chopping and peeling skills aren’t particularly fast, so I’ve been improving at that while I’ve been at home.

Sometimes all we have the energy to do is wake up and feed ourselves. Right now is the time to do what you can, but don’t expect everything to be as normal. The world situation isn’t normal and we have to adapt to that.

To whoever is reading, hopefully, you can implement some of these practices into your socially distanced life, and find enjoyment in them! Spread kindness during these times, and I hope to keep you entertained with these posts!

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