When the Pandemic first began, I, like many other college freshmen, left my college dorm in Chicago and rushed home to my family. I am from Maine, and I headed back to my hometown Falmouth (right above Portland). I returned home, finished my freshman year, and spent time with my family. However, I was able to come back to Chicago, and in August I moved into a nice little garden apartment with my best friend. I then got a nice tutoring job in August, and I have been really lucky to have the daily life that I do. I am also fortunate enough to be able to get covid tested, and I get covid tested frequently.
I’m immensely glad that I am in Chicago, and I am aware of how fortunate I am. However, being in Chicago away from my family is incredibly lonely. I’m someone who is very close to their parents and being away from them is hard. Also, it’s the first time I have been to Chicago and not had all of my friends here. Some of my really close friends are here, and I do get to see them. However, my current life is not a glamorous one. I work from 8:30 to 2:30 and then come back to my apartment where I eat some form of lunch and rest. Like many college sophomores (especially those who are trying to figure out what to change their major too), my life is filled with homework and long hours. This, on top of the all-around stress from the world and news, leaves most people exhausted (myself included). I find myself at the end of the day being emotionally and physically drained, and in desperate need of some comfort.
Don’t get me wrong, I would much rather be in Chicago than in any part of Maine, but it feels unbelievably isolated. I have only gotten to see my parents once this quarter, and it was only for a few days. When I go home for Thanksgiving break, I am unable to see any of the people I grew up knowing, and will likely spend the week with just my immediate family.
I also know I am not the only person who feels this loneliness. My mom and dad call me multiple times a day, every day. We take time to check in with each other, and my mom shows me our cat and we talk about her. I also show her my cat, who she brought to me a few weeks ago. I spend most of my free time on Zoom talking to my friends who were unable to come to Chicago, and we spend hours talking like nothing has changed. Rarely do we discuss the future, or what the future has in store for us and our education, instead we reminisce on memories that happened months ago during happier times.
I do not want this article to sound like a sad lament of my new life in Chicago, and I have been able to have fun, joyful times since coming here. But this is the reality for many students. So, if you haven’t done so in a while, check in on your friends. Check-in on your family, and just be nice to everyone in your life. We are all coping with this pandemic, and this coping looks different for every person.
Also, if you are someone who does not live with your family and is going home for the holidays, please please please get covid tested! The link below is where I normally get tested for work, and I strongly recommend going here.