“The Desperate Optimist Inside of me Wants it to be Normal so Badly”: Honors Students’ Journal Project

MVCC’s Honors Program and Library are partnering to capture the experiences of Moraine Valley students during this unprecedented time. Honors students have agreed to journal their experiences. They have given us permission to share their thoughts during this time.

March 27, 2020 
…About a month ago, I first heard of the coronavirus when I read about its emergence in China and how it had infected thousands of its civilians. Fast forward to today, I would never have expected a non-living organism on the other side of the world to close down my school for the entire semester. Not just my school, but every non-essential business has been shut down due to governor Pritzker’s stay at home order. Only grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals, banks, and restaurants (for carry out and delivery only) remain open. I work at a Dairy Queen and it’s been closed for exactly a week now.

Almost every college/university has moved to classes online for the rest of the semester. I respect the teachers for working hard and moving the class material to an online format during this unprecedented crisis. If I’m being honest, it’s been nice sleeping in everyday and staying at home listening to BIO 181 lectures online at my own will. However, it doesn’t even feel like the school year is still going on. The last time I was at Moraine was March 7th, and the following week of spring break changed everything. Things were normal until the middle of the week when remote learning was announced for the remainder of the semester in the form of an email. It’s hard to focus and do homework online when there’s a national emergency outside.

…People are hoarding food and paper products like napkins and toilet paper. The only thing I’m wondering is if the toilet paper rolls have ran out, shouldn’t the air fresheners be gone as well?
–Parth Pandaya

March 28,2020 
Day 14 of quarantine, it’s been two weeks of quarantine and it has been rough, however at least my family and I are all healthy, today is super rainey and gloomy, last night it rained and we haven’t had rain awhile, it’s so refreshing. I’ve made it a goal of mine to not stay negative, especially because of all the stress I’m in, however, I won a scholarship this week, and it really helped give me motivation to get through this week. There’s so much uncertainty in the world right now, and having the feeling of control is reassuring. I feel like I finally have control over my schedule, there’s so much school work to get done and today I feel like I accomplished where I want to be in my schedule! I’m not a big news person, but I feel like adding the world’s daily news updates fits into this journal. Fox news reported that Trump signed a $2T stimulus bill. This bill is, “a legislative packet meant to combat the coronavirus pandemic and send economic relief.”
–Kairia Hamad

March 30, 2020
The hardest part of all of this has been adjusting: Adjusting to the new executive orders which restrict us from going out, adjusting to our new routines at home, and adjusting to the new way of living for the time being. 

The first two weeks of quarantine was me getting used to all of those ideas. My routine has done a complete 180; Instead of being out almost everyday with school and work, I have made permanent residence at home. Above all, the biggest adjustment was finding the motivation to keep progressing in my personal/academic endeavors. Even though class in person is canceled for the rest of the semester, there are still projects and homework to be completed online. What I found the most difficult was finding the motivation after all my hard work throughout the school year seemed to be erased. Now that I completed my two years at Moraine, there will be no graduation. In addition, I was in the running to become the graduation speaker, which was super exciting. On top of that, our National’s trip for Moraine Valley’s Speech team was canceled, along with our friends and family showcase; An event I was unfortunately really looking forward to. I had to break the news to so many family members that we wouldn’t be having it.

We’ve all lost something in the midst of this virus. Some more than others, but I don’t know if there is a single person on this planet right now that hasn’t been affected. 

It is important to mention that there is still a lot of good coming out of this. 
–Vanessa Sevilla

March 31, 2020
Our first week into being online students, and I can’t believe I’m finally over the first week. It was a rough transition when there were so many distractions around me. The set line between school and my home life was diminished completely, I’m cooking breakfast for my siblings while trying to stay on task with my math course that is going live at the same time. All of life isn’t real enough to take in, the message had been sent last week no more school or classes for the rest of the semester. The campus was officially closed and off-limits, we were a week into the Governer finally putting us on lockdown. But I keep having these hopeful feelings, that may be within a week or two it’ll magically get better. The desperate optimist inside of me wants it to be normal so badly. 
–Dunya Yasin

April 3, 2020
Everything is a mess! I just got the news that they cancelled all science and math classes for the Summer, everyone is freaking out. I’m pushed back an entire semester! Before, I had to double up on Science classes plus math classes for the fall and spring semester for 2020. Now there’s no way I would be able to graduate Summer 2020.

The amount of work that our due is impossible for anyone to handle in my schedule. 10 assignments are due Monday, some at noon, and it’s impossible to keep up. Especially not having any of my classmates to talk face to face makes it worse. I feel trapped, my to do schedule has taken over my life, and I’ve definitely not felt human. I feel like a robot, and I don’t think some of my professors are putting themselves in the student’s shoes.  The self-distancing has now been pushed further, April 30 is now the new date. Right when everyone thinks it’s getting better, it gets worse than worse. There’s a lack of motivation for the future, the more that has to be taken away the less the future means. 
–Kairia Hamad

April 7, 2020
…Online only education is the devil. I can’t pretend otherwise, and I know that this speaks to some element of my character that I’m struggling in such a way. While I comfort myself with the fact that I’m not alone in my less-than-sunny disposition, it does me zero actual good. It’s not as if the work is so supremely insurmountable; it’s just new, and challenging, in a way that’s frustrating…
–Brian Heuser

April 12, 2020
So yesterday was my son’s 14th birthday. When I went for groceries the last trip out I picked up stuff to bake a cake and a special birthday dinner. We ended up having a fantastic time just us. We grilled in the backyard. Taped balloons all around the house. I made him a chocolate chocolate cake. My mom wanted to order him a cake from a bakery for delivery, but he said mine is better. Of course I was honored he feels that way. He was very surprised at the little party I threw together just for the people in our home. He said it was one of his most memorable birthdays.
–Jamie Novick

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