If someone told me a year ago today that I would be finishing my last semester of college from my high school bedroom, I would have never believed them. Why would I ever do that?
I love being on Gonzaga’s campus, all of my friends are 21 so we can go explore the Spokane bar scene, I have an internship at Spokane Hoopfest that I love and two on-campus jobs at the Bulletin and Rudolf Fitness center. With all of that going for me, why would I ever go remote and live in my hometown of Pasco, WA again?
That was until COVID-19 hit. Campuses all around the world shut down in order to stop the spread of the virus, with the hope of returning to normal come fall semester.
Fall semester slowly crept closer and closer, and I had to make a decision about whether I wanted to go back to campus or not. After seeing how major universities like NYU were handling students moving back to campus, I decided that it would be the safest and most secure option to live at home to finish out the home stretch of undergrad.
And I must say - it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, I think that living at home is the best decision I could’ve made.
I know that I am extremely fortunate to have a family that welcomed me with open arms when I made my decision to stay home. I share an office with my mom in our bonus room that we converted to an at-home-office-space after we were told that our work would be remote going forward.
My mom loves hearing about all of the things I learn in class. She actually reminds me of homework that I have due sometimes too, which is an added bonus. Working in an office with my mom gives her a glimpse at what I’m going to be doing in the future, and she’s even picked up some key words from a few of my classes pertaining to public relations.
The commute to class is also a big bonus. I have an 8 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I am able to roll out of bed at 7:45, brush my teeth and make coffee all before my class starts. It’s also an easy commute back to bed, where I usually nap after the early morning lectures.
Working remotely has also given me great time-management skills. In between lectures, I am able to work on projects that I wouldn’t have time for if I were running around campus to get to classes on time.
With these time management skills, I have made myself a really good schedule on when to be done with work for the day. The tricky thing about working from home is the blurred lines between work and leisure.
I have found a system that works for me, which is dedicating my day from 9-4 to school work, and after 4 p.m. I close my computer and don’t check school work. Of course, there are exceptions to this like evening meetings, but besides those, I have created a good work-life balance while working remotely, something that I couldn’t say I had when I lived on campus and went to class in person.
It’s also worth mentioning that I have a full kitchen for use whenever I need to make something to eat in between classes. I don’t spend as much on food as I did on campus (though I must confess, I do pick up taco truck street tacos at least once a week for lunch).
There are definite downsides to remote learning though. On weekdays, I typically only see people who are adults, nobody really my age. I do keep in contact with my friends and boyfriend over text and social media, but not being physically around anyone my age for days at a time feels pretty lonely sometimes.
Remote learning also becomes taxing when there are forms that need to be filled out. At the beginning of the fall semester, I went on a wild goose chase trying to figure out what needed to be signed by different people for a credit-transfer form. If I were on campus, I would be able to physically go to the offices and get all of the signatures I needed, which would take a lot less time than it took emailing five different people at once.
At the end of the day, I’m glad that I chose to stay at home. Not only has it made me much more organized in my work, but I also can rest easy knowing I am doing my part in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19.