Early into the year of 2020 the covid-19 pandemic brought forward a number of unique challenges for students and the workforce. These issues arose from almost every aspect of our day to day lives, from not being able to leave our homes to finding ourselves suddenly without work. Despite these roadblocks, there was still work to be done and even if things might be a little harder or take a little longer, they had to be done. And thus began the rocky road to completing my capstone project.
One of the first troubles my capstone project faced was my sudden and unexpected loss of income. Right before the lockdown was put into effect I had been offered a position on campus. Before I could work my first day the office was closed to avoid unnecessary contact. This left me in the unenviable position of having to provide for myself and pay rent for the apartment I shared while being uncertain of my financial future. This not only ate up large measures of my time, but also left me emotionally drained. This psychological fatigue was only compounded upon by issues I will present later. Eventually, having trouble finding a job in the new covid workplace, I was forced to move back in with my mother who lives 6 hours away in Northern California. Luckily this was possible due to classes going online, which later lead to its own set of troubles. Already isolated due to the lockdown, this only served to separate me even further from the community and friends I had become accustomed to and the educational setting I’d used for the last 4 years to help concentrate my energies into my studies.
The loss of the campus and especially the library was one of the greatest challenges I personally faced. Living in a small apartment with 3 other students meant that outside of school I spent most of my time in the small bedroom I shared. I had come to rely on classes to remove myself from the environment and on the library as a place where I could focus my thoughts and actually get some work done. While not as much of an issue in the first few weeks, the longer I spent trying to work in that room the more I found I could neither concentrate nor properly motivate myself. I spent hours staring at the beige walls struggling to force myself to avert my gaze to the computer so that I could resume my work. This problem was only compounded when I was forced to move back in with my mother. The stress of moving six hours away from the school I knew and the shame of the situation which made it necessary took a heavy toll on my mindset as well as my ability to work and function normally. To add to this, I eventually moved again another six hours south to live with some distant relatives. While I care for my family, it did not make for a very comfortable work setting. It was not until I moved a third time that year into another apartment that I really was able to create a system to get my work done.
The circumstances around this last year and around the completion of my capstone have been some of the most challenging I have ever faced. I can however say I have learned a lot about myself and how to create a conducive working environment no matter where I am. Hopefully things improve in the world at large in relation to covid, but if we are stuck inside for a while longer I feel confident that I have adapted to this style of work and life.