As coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to disrupt the regular routines of students at Stony Brook University, social distancing has made lives difficult for some.
On April 16, Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended New York on PAUSE until May 15. As the duration of the pandemic extends, many students have found ways to cope with the executive order of staying home by exercising, spending time with family and relighting their passions and hobbies.
“This change felt different and hit me abruptly,” Mohammed Harb, a junior biology major, said.
As a resident assistant in Kelly Quad, he checked out students as they moved off-campus. By the time Harb got home, everything had transitioned to online learning and social distancing.
“It is difficult being home with family around and coping with quarantine and managing school work has become extremely difficult,” Harb said.
Many students have felt dispirited and downhearted about the governor’s order to stay home. Some students have felt angry about the shutdown and the stay-at-home order because it disrupted their academic and social lives.
“There was a period of adjustment to the quarantine,” William Laderer, a junior chemistry major, said. “I felt resentment and frustration towards it.”
Although initially irritated by social distancing, Laderer said that he’s started to adjust to this lifestyle and now looks forward to the small things that keep him calm.
Laderer said that he has a small gym in his house and that working out helps him destress and remain calm while isolated.
Students who don’t have a personal gym like Laderer, such as Harb and Christopher Lau, a junior biology major, have resorted to running outside. Both Lau and Harb said it keeps them refreshed after being home all day and allows both to keep their adrenaline pumping, motivating them to do their college assignments.
Some students are coping with the stay-home order by spending more time with family. Since some students lived on campus, going weeks without seeing their families, the executive order to stay home was an opportunity to spend more time and connect with their families. According to the Stony Brook University Fact Book, more than 10,000 students lived on-campus during the 2018-2019 school year. This means that approximately 40% of students may go weeks or months without seeing their families.
Jui Patel, a sophomore biology and psychology double major, said that she “spends time with family by either watching movies or TV shows together.” Although she is annoyed that she can’t see her friends, she is glad that she can spend time with her family.
Karthik Ledalla, a junior biomedical engineering major, said that he likes to spend some time in the kitchen cooking with his mother. With his extra time, he is rereading all the Harry Potter books because he loved the series and has a passion for reading. Ledalla also said that “everyone is going through the same thing” and that he and his friends now vent and talk about their problems on Zoom.
Isabella Pizzuto, a junior chemistry major, said that she likes doing yoga. Pizzuto said the activity “gives [her] energy and motivation” to do work and study for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
Ashna Raiker, a junior biology major, and Sai Srinivas, a junior chemistry major, said that reality is beginning to sink in. But since resigning themselves to staying in, they have decided they may as well focus on themselves and their hobbies.
“It feels strange to talk to a computer or phone for hours every day,” Srinivas said. “Things feel robotic, but ironically it’s our way of keeping us human and keeping things normal.”
Students like Srinivas and Raiker said that they did not have that much free time during the semester on campus, but now that they have found themselves quarantined, many have been able to rekindle their passions and hobbies. Srinivas said he has a passion for playing table tennis and the piano during his free time, while Raiker said she loves to read and paint.
“We’re going to be in quarantine for a while [and] might as well do something that interests us,” Raiker said.