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Diary of a Xaverian In Quarantine

Check in here biweekly to see a new diary of a member of the Xaverian Community. Professors, Students, and More!

 

Diary of an Off-Campus Student in Quarantine (Anonymous)

Introduction

Like many of us, this student was sent home early from school last year, the end of her second year studying human kinetics. She has decided that during this upcoming semester, due to the pandemic, she will be taking her classes online and from home, so she will not be returning to campus. She is heading into a semester that is much different from what she is used to, and having to adapt as she goes.

A Day In The Life

This student, likes to wake up earlier than some, around 6:30 or 7, and have a nice relaxed morning before she has to either work, or attend her online classes. When her family is up and available she likes to have a breakfast with them, since she cherishes moments that they can find to be together.

She then either dives right into schoolwork or heads off to her summer job. At the end of last year, she tried to get school-work done all day, starting right in the morning, spreading it out with breaks in the middle to take her dog for a walk and get out of the house, or just give her mind a break. This way she prevented herself from feeling too overwhelmed, instead of cramming it all into the evenings.

Once the maritime bubble was established, she managed to find a summer job. In fact, she started working as a babysitter for the same family that she has babysat for in years past, but with enhanced duties. Because of the restrictions due to the pandemic, the family for who  she babysat decided not to put any of their children into daycare, initially because they were closed, and later because they had decreased limits for how many children they could take.  So, the family  instead decided to have this student take care of all three of them all day. She constantly tried to create fun and exciting activities for them to do, because the restrictions meant that most of the activities that she usually did with them were unpractical and in many cases prohibited. So she tried to have them get outside as much as she could, and create games for them. She would cook them their favourite foods, and even tried some new recipes with them such as baked apples with cinnamon.

Thankfully, as the restrictions were slowly lifted, and more activities became available, she began to take them to some of their favourite haunts from earlier summers. They went to the beach, to the playground, different parks, and on lots of walks.

After she was done working or studying for the day, she liked to watch a movie at home, or go for a long walk with her mum. Interestingly, for her birthday, which fell when restrictions were still heavy, she had a zoom birthday party and many of her friends were able to celebrate with her from afar. Later in the summer, she enjoyed going to the beach with her mom or out to drinks in the socially distanced manner that became the norm at restaurants and bars with friends. They were ways of connecting with her friends after months of not being able to properly visit with anyone in person.

As she looks ahead to the semester we are now beginning, she is unsure of how it will turn out. She was uncomfortable with being on campus, and thought that living in residence too many restrictions and no true guarantee of safety protocols being implemented, or successful and feels much safer with being able to study remotely. That however comes with other challenges such as not having as much face to face time with professors. Other than the brief end of last semester, this will be her first time taking any kind of online class, but she is feeling excited to see how it works and feels like she got the hang of it very quickly last time and managed to stay motivated.

Other than putting as much effort as she can into her studies, she will also be trying to put a lot of effort into maintaining her relationships with her friends and fellow Xavierians.

 

Diary of an International Xaverian In Quarantine

Clemen C

Introduction

Clemen is an international student from Ecuador. When the school closed down campus last fall, she was faced with the question of where to go when the border to Ecuador almost immediately closed. Ultimately, she decided to stay in Antigonish (as many students did), where she also continued to work.

A Day in the life

Clemen was unable to return home this spring because the borders to Ecuador closed almost at the same time as universities in Canada did. Once the border did open, in July, she made the decision not to return then either, because several members of her family had tested positive for covid-19, and there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding her ability to get a visa to return this fall. So she has now spent the entire summer in Nova Scotia, and been able to experience the coast in a brand new season, that brings with it all kinds of new activities. However, like we all do when gone for extended periods of time, she was missing home, her family, and familiar foods. Excitingly, she has been endeavoring to learn some new Ecuadorian recipes, to taste a bit of home and connect with her culture. And because a few of her friends from Ecuador also stayed for the summer she has been able to cook with them and give each other some comfort. At the outset of quarantine, she also tried to learn how to sew a blanket with a group of similar minded friends, but as the world re-opened so rapidly, she eventually gave up and focused on cooking, as it’s a more comforting activity.

Clemen wakes up in beautiful Antigonish, now at an apartment off campus. When the school shut down, she was still living on campus, but in order to remain on campus for the summer during the pandemic, she would have had to pay a lot of money. So she made the decision with some friends to share an apartment for the summer where she has been staying ever since. Although she was planning on being a CA next year, but because of the COVID pandemic and increased risks brought by living in residence, she is now committed to living off-campus.

On days when she isn’t working, she likes to go to the beach or for a hike with her friends. She enjoys discovering new aspects of Canada, especially the beauty of Cape Breton. She has managed to find some really cool hiking trails around the Antigonish community and on Cape Breton island.

On the days when she is working, she heads over the Tim Hortons just off campus, where she has been working for the last year part-time. At the beginning of the pandemic, Tim Hortons in Nova Scotia transitioned to take-out and drive-through, eliminating the dine-in option. This decreased capacity, and the fact that residents of the community were also nervous to venture into public spaces, resulted in fewer customers overall and thus fewer staff in the workplace. Instead of the usual 10+ staff in the location, there were just 5, including managers, and so Clemen’s job was a bit more stressful. Now, as Antigonish transitions back to a more normal lifestyle, Tim Hortons is open with a full staff, allowing her to go back to working full time through the end of the summer, and then transition back to part-time hours once classes restart.

Before going to bed, she talks to her family back home, and then has been watching some Korean TV shows with her roommates.

 

Diary of a 3rd Year Xaverian In Quarantine (Anonymous)

Introduction

This student in going into her 3rd year at St. FX, studying under the Public Policy and Governance faculty, and was living back home with her parents during the pandemic. After a long and busy summer, she is now having to manage her expectations of what going back to school this fall is going to mean, because everything could change at the drop of a hat.

A Day in the life

This student wakes up each morning with a pretty full schedule and so gets started on her day right away. A routine stemming from the beginning of the pandemic when students initially moved home and classes moved online, she gets started on homework in the morning. Once regular winter classes ended, this student elected to take both spring and summer classes and so the studying has been a continuous factor of the entire summer. On top of class work, she has gotten a head start on studying for the LSAT’s that she will take next summer.

As I’m sure we can all relate to, it can be really helpful to study in different places, or more specifically places that aren’t your bedroom, but during quarantine, while not being on campus, and not even having coffee shops and libraries open to study at, she has been struggling to stay focused while doing all of her studying at home. Having the whole family back home also makes concentrating and focusing a lot more difficult.

Throughout the day, whenever she needs a break, some fresh air, or just to move and do something, she has been taking a lot more runs and walks, either alone or with some of her family. At the beginning of the pandemic, there were always lots of people outside for walks, but now, as people are on more regular schedules, she has noticed fewer people outside when she goes out for a walk. Her favourite way to get outside is to take her dog for a walk though, in fact having her dog while she’s home is a general highlight.

Having a summer job is a necessity for most university students, but when this global pandemic swept in, it made that feat seem temporarily impossible or at least very difficult. Thankfully, once the corner of the world where she lives began to lift restrictions little by little, she was able to resume working at her summer job where she works part-time. So some days, she can’t get started on studying right in the morning because she heads off to work, with heightened safety protocols, fewer clients, and a generally more intense working situation.

On top of classwork, her part-time job, and a busy family schedule, she has had meetings throughout the summer for the various job positions that she holds on campus and will return to once classes recommence. As a member of a house council, a lot of thought has been put into how to still maintain the excitement and energy that freshmen students bring to campus, despite this year rather unconventional. While the council that she sits on receives information only slightly before the student body does, they have been thinking on their feet about how to make the best of this situation for everyone, which requires a lot of zoom calls, teams meetings and all of the methods of communicating that we have become accustomed to.

After a full day, and maybe a little bit of Zelda her family (or those that are around at dinner time) sits down as a group for drinks to debrief their days and then has dinner all together, obviously allowing for shifting, and changing schedules. This was a routine that was started during their initial 14-day quarantine and just managed to stick for the whole pandemic, because how often is it that the entire family is home for an entire six month period. Often times during drinks or dinner, the family plays jeopardy together, using a handy function on their google home. It keeps them all on their toes and is a fun way of passing the time.

At the end of the day, usually on the weekends especially, this student, and her siblings, like to relax and unwind by watching thrillers and horror movies such as the shining and parasite.

 

Diary of a Xaverian Professor in Quarantine

Dr. Donna Trembinski

Introduction

Dr. Donna Trembinski is an associate professor in the history faculty at St. FX specializing in the middle ages. Like many other professors she has been working from home this semester and balancing spending time with her family, working, relaxing and going outside. In the coming semester she will only be teaching two in person courses, that were unable to be moved online.

A Day in the life

Dr Trembinski wakes up before most in the morning every day and starts her day early because she has some chickens that need to be fed and let out for the day. As we can all probably relate to, when the whole family is spending all of their time at home it can be difficult to carve out time to spend by yourself, so Trembinski finds her personal time to read the newspaper or drink a cup of coffee in the morning before everyone else wakes up.

Then it’s time to go for a morning walk with her daughter. Due to all of her added time spent at home, and thus more opportunities and more of a need to go for a walk, she has even found some new walking trails that are right near her house, that she had previously overlooked because of how busy everyday life is. Daily walks have become a staple of a lot of lives now, as a way of getting some exercise in and getting out of the house in one fell swoop. In Antigonish, it has also served as a way for the community to stay more connected, and Trembinski finds that her neighbors are more likely to stop and have a chat (socially distanced of course when it is needed). When restrictions were higher in Nova Scotia, some families in Antigonish created scavenger hunts for the kids who were out on walks to keep the whole town entertained and thriving. Over Easter, Trembinski and her family even went around and wrote Happy Easter in chalk in the driveways of their friends and extended family. What a gorgeous way of keeping connected with the neighborhood when you can’t get together in person.

After her morning walk, Trembinski, her husband and her daughter all start the workday. Thankfully having enough Wi-Fi bandwidth to have zoom meetings for both parents and whatever was going on for school for her daughter before the summer began. But as one can imagine, it can be harder to focus on work with everyone home, and there are inevitably many more interruptions as well, but they are still managing to get a lot done! Trembinski’s workdays consist of many meetings, research, as well as seminars from Dal, St. FX, and others that are focused on teaching professors how to move classes online, and those about moving to socially distanced classes are beginning now as well.

After lunch, its back to work, or maybe a virtual conference. Although many of us have had travel plans cancelled because of the pandemic, it has also meant that things have been moved online and are thus available to a wider group who are not restricted by travel. This has meant that Dr. Trembinski has managed to attend many conferences that she is normally only able to attend once every five years, such as one particularly alluring one in Leeds, England, and others in New Jersey, and Baltimore. Also during this time the family has managed to learn some new things. Dr. Trembinski herself has relearned how to bake homemade bread, along with many other cooking recipes, and much about online teaching, conferencing, and interacting in general.

At the end of her day, Dr. Trembinski and her family take another walk together around their neighborhood and manage to spend time with both each other and the outdoors.

Nothing added yet, but come back soon!