(Photo by Sophie Kibiger)

Photo by Sophie Kibiger

One Day at a Time

April 10, 2020

The Decaturian isn’t in your hands on a weekly basis but we’re still here, trying to give a voice to Millikin students. That being said, we’re giving you our stories — how we’re getting along in a new world. This is part assignment, part reporting and part recording the world we live in now.
These first excerpts are from Newswriting students and Decaturian reporters. But we’d love to hear from you as well. Tell us what your life is like. And send a picture of your experience. Send your story to Athena Pajer and Sydney Sinks at [email protected]
Thank you and stay safe.
– The Decaturian Staff

The Decaturian isn’t in your hands on a weekly basis but we’re still here, trying to give a voice to Millikin students. That being said, we’re giving you our stories — how we’re getting along in a new world. This is part assignment, part reporting and part recording the world we live in now.

These first excerpts are from Newswriting students and Decaturian reporters. But we’d love to hear from you as well. Tell us what your life is like. And send a picture of your experience. Send your story to Athena Pajer and Sydney Sinks at [email protected]

Thank you and stay safe.

[/sidebar]Days pass by, but I don’t really realize it. As I head into my fourth week of self-quarantine, I find it hard to reflect on the time that has passed. I don’t really remember when I did things or when events happened. I’ve never felt lazier, but I’ve also never cared less.

It hit me yesterday how truly apocalyptic this all feels. Every day at 2:00 p.m., my mom calls me out of my room and into the living room so we can silently watch Governor Walz give his press conference. My mom does a weekly trip to the store in which she risks her life to buy us cereal. A few days ago, she stood outside in the rain because the store was at capacity, and she had to wait her turn. It’s still a challenge to find toilet paper.

My mom and I live in the same tiny apartment together and are both doing work/school from home. We alternate who gets to sit at the kitchen table sometimes. The kitchen table is our official office space, so whoever sits there has official business to do. Like zoom-ing. I guess that’s official. 

Yesterday, it was announced that Minnesota is #1 in the country for flattening the curve and we have successfully flattened it by continuing to social distance and stay at home. But every day, I look out my apartment window and see hoards of people doing their daily walk within sneezing distance of each other. It makes me wonder what other states look like. 

I’m a nine hour trip away from campus and all of my friends, which has been hard. The majority of people in my classes live in Illinois, so they all kind of know what’s going on with each other and how they each are living. It makes me feel like I’m floating on some faraway island. I write messages in bottles and throw them into the lake (it has to be a lake, I’m in Minnesota, I have no option) and hope other people will find them. That’s a metaphor, by the way, I’m not cruel enough to litter in a time like this. Or ever. Save the Earth, you know?

I know I’m not alone, but I feel so lonely. I know this is not at all specific to me, but it really sucks. Being far away from most of my friends is really hard, especially since a year ago today, I was shopping and going to lunch with my best friend. And, of course, I have friends in Minnesota, but they’re also in quarantine, and unfortunately, we’re not close enough that we can yell out of our windows to each other. That would be really cool, though. Or if we had those can telephones with the strings in the middle. That would be cooler. 

Things are changing, even though it feels like every single day is the same. I filed for unemployment this week, which felt really weird. I got fired right after Christmas but never filed cause I didn’t need the money. Now, I’m rejoicing over the $89 a week I might be getting. 

My dad got laid off a week ago. It hasn’t fully hit me yet. A lot of people are losing their jobs right now, and it doesn’t feel real that it’s happened to my family. Six months ago, my mom, dad, brother, and I all had steady jobs. Now, my mom is the only one that can still work, and who knows if that will still be the case come June. 

I’m going to my dad’s today to play hairstylist and give him and my brother much-needed haircuts. We might dye my brother’s hair a crazy color. No one’s going to see him for a few months, anyway, and the idea of crazy colors makes my dad smile. I’m trying my best to make him smile right now.
As I enter the fourth week, I can’t see what the future looks like. Of course, I’m afraid of getting sick. Now that we don’t have health insurance, I don’t think we’ll be able to go to the hospital if we were to get the virus. I mean, we probably would if it got really bad, but it would be a cost I don’t know if we could recover from. I worry about health a lot. My dad and I both have reoccurring medical issues that both can lead to hospitalization (he’s got chronic kidney stones, and I’ve got a cyst condition. It’s cute.) so I worry about what would happen if either of us has a flair up in the next few months. 

Worrying is not something I’m unfamiliar with. I’m an extreme worrier in my everyday life, so as you can imagine, my brain is like a bot of water that has boiled over. Though, for as high as my anxiety is on a normal day, it surprises me how well I’ve accepted the idea of impending doom. Maybe it’s because I was in Europe during the biggest part of the outbreak. Nothing scares me now (well, a lot of things scare me, sometimes I just like to appear big and beefy). 

Week four will probably be scarier than week three. And week five after that will be scarier again. Things are going to keep changing, and the numbers on the news will get higher and scarier, and I’ll keep living my life one press conference at a time. I don’t know if I’ll get to go back to school in the fall. I don’t know when I’ll see my friends again. I don’t know when anyone in my family will get to work. I don’t know how long I’ll be healthy. But I do know that mom and I have cereal, my dad and brother are going to have half-way decent haircuts by the end of the day, and Rupaul’s Drag Race is on tonight. I might not know what the coming weeks will hold, but at least I know that today will be a good day. 

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