City College Times staff describe shelter-at-home experience


Times Staff

City College Times staff having fun in the newsroom March 5.

The shelter-at-home order is expected to last until the end of May. City College Times staff share their quarantine experiences during the spring semester.


Jasper Somera

Personally, being quarantined halfway through the winter semester has been difficult and stressful. It took away seeing friends, opportunities of new social bonds and the feeling of belonging to a community.

As an extreme extrovert, I enjoy conversation, connection and exploration. Hence, I find it challenging to stay cooped up in a place I don’t want to be.

This semester was going well for me, not just with near perfect grades and new friendships, but I genuinely enjoyed every minute of every class. My instructors made everything thrilling, which allowed me to invest my best into each course.

Online classes, although still a lecture-like session, make me feel separated from my community and the friends that I made. With the lockdown in effect, it is prohibiting me from seeing them in person and outside of a classroom as well.

I have also been dealing with personal struggles and realizations, as many people may be. Attending a campus with classes I loved and seeing familiar faces, each with their own unique personalities, was my only escape from the adversity I am personally facing.

Now I feel as if I’m backed against a wall and being forced to acknowledge them\; however, mentally I am not ready to. This being said, it has made me discern that it is time to address my struggles head-on and take action. I must admit it is easier said than done, but I have done it before and I will do it again.


Patience Bixby

Day-to-day life has changed in every way for me. As someone who is very social and talkative, it is difficult to stay home and just see the same four people that live with me every day.

I have started investing more of my time checking in on others around me and getting to know my classmates better.

I think Zoom has made my classes seem more personal, and I am more likely to ask questions in this setting.

Online classes do make me miss my communities and clubs I have become invested in. This change has made me realize how thankful for technology and all the resources we take for granted on a daily basis.

Being stuck at home has made me realize how important it is to balance my mental health during the busy times of life; otherwise, when I slow down, I realize how much I have been neglecting myself.

Life changes every day. How you handle it is ultimately up to you. When life gives you lemons, as some people say, what are you going to do? You might as well make lemonade.


Jayatri Bhattacharya

At this point in life, I am very fortunate to have everything I need during the call to shelter-in-place.

I have a fridge stocked with food, a laptop for my personal use, which my sister borrowed from her college, a TV with Netflix and Hulu for entertainment, running water and my own room.

I have not had those things before, and the silver lining to the lockdown is that I can fully appreciate what I have now.
The opportunity to go to sleep early and sleeping in during the morning was a blessing. I do not often have that kind of time considering the amount of homework and stress that I allow into my life every day. It was a welcome change to have a different pace for once.
I checked out some classic novels and films to read and watch from the library, which have been occupying a lot of my free time.

I have the book “Frankenstein” and the series of films in the complete Legacy Collection. I also have the movie “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and the book “Dracula.”
I am really into gothic literature, so it is easy to immerse myself. I have finished watching the BBC TV series for “Pride and Prejudice” as well as “Sense and Sensibility,” so the Georgian era was quite intriguing to explore as well. These are the things that are keeping me occupied right now.
Young people in Hubei, China, seem to hold the same idea of distracting themselves from the horrific impacts of the virus by keeping busy. It is important to keep moving rather than obsessing over the news and being paranoid. As long as we all stay proactive and cautious, we will survive this ordeal.


Vanessa Rojas

I am just trying to get by each day and being grateful that my space is safe. I have the necessities and am grateful to be able to sustain a good living. My space has been safe and comfortable to reflect on this situation.
What gave me joy the first day is the support I got from my friends when the topic of stress arose for this virus.
Something that brings joy every day is being able to be creative. In a way, I have touched back to my hobbies. I have taken the time to enjoy doing paintings, sketching, writing and reading. The things I have not done in a while have been coming back to me during this isolation.
The experience we have had with the younger people in Hubei, China, have been similar. Mostly the part where they need to connect with friends or loved ones in order to feel less alone.
I have connected with my close friends and we have video chatted and texted frequently. I release most of my anxiety and stress with them, and we all understand each other. Keeping our minds busy has helped me cope with being at my house.


Melissa Schraml

My sheltering-in-place experience so far has been pretty boring.
I am trying to do my best to keep myself productive by working on school work and watching videos that make me happy, like Jack Skellington from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and Kylo Ren, my favorite “Star Wars” character.
I watched a bunch of YouTube videos.
While reading the article about young people in China, I noticed that a lot of them talked to their friends, which is what I sometimes do\; and it is kind of the same experience.

I am living with my uncle’s family so right now everything is OK. We have enough food and toilet paper (a weird thing that makes people crazy).


Nhu Dang

The first thing that I enjoy in this crisis time is I have more time to sleep. Usually I just sleep about four to five hours a day.

I study until 2 a.m. and wake up at 6:30 a.m. to catch the bus to school, and I use one hour on the bus to sleep again. So the best thing about taking class online at this time is having more time to sleep.

What I enjoy these days is finally I can eat my breakfast. If I go to school, my job starts from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m., and I have only 15 minutes before class to eat my breakfast (lunch). The best thing I enjoy this time is sleeping and eating.

I have had the same experience as other people in the article. I started to learn how to cook and how to exercise. I feel like my life is getting slower. I learned how to love myself again, although I know that this will just last a few weeks.


Anton Vladimir

The walls are white, the carpet sandy grey.
Shades on the windows allow light in when the sun is out, and keep out peering eyes when the gloom of the night threatens to creep in.
Empty bottles of dressing sit on the table beside the laptop, eagerly waiting to be thrown out.
Socks, shirts and sweaters lay dormant on the soft chair lounging by the exit.
A microwave lies flat in the kitchen, with its cord pulled out like a newborn’s umbilical cord, awaiting new plates of yesterday’s rice and beans to warm in its frog-like mouth.
The only sounds without are the creaks of fence gates sliding open to welcome in neighbors to their abodes, wandering out for food like beavers scavenging for branches to stockpile before the onset of frigid winter.
Meditating on the bed, the young man connects to the objects of the room. They do not speak, nor do they listen, merely existing as objects of contemplation. He becomes one with the objects, as a chameleon would among a sea of verdant leaves, leaping back into the world refreshed.
The young man does not experience the same anxiety as the youth of Hubei do because he seeks a calm within his mind that no worry could ever pierce.


Junjie Qiu

The first day of the shelter-in-place was kind of relaxing. I just checked the canvas and email, and then I drove to Costco, bought some things for the next one week. Of course, I wore a face mask.

When I arrived at Costco, it was hard to find parking, I drove around for 15 minutes before I finally found a parking space. I waited for a parking spot, and once inside, there was no more toilet paper and no frozen vegetables.

The second day I watched the news and got very worried about the situation. My friends who live in China are all worried about me. They sent me some masks and medicine to protect me.

The third day I felt uncomfortable. My friend said I was too anxious and felt too much pressure so I searched for some funny shows for entertainment.
After one week, the situation was terrible. I was scared to go outside, and my Chinese friends all texted me and suggested that I should return to China. But I think it is OK for now. The only thing I can do is stay. It is about helping others and saving yourself.


Raena Gamza

My sheltering-in-place location during this whole crisis is my home. My room has all the things that I like and that keep me occupied during this quarantine, like my computer to do my projects, homework and painting stuff.

The one thing that gave me joy on the first day was having my mom and my sisters at home. Before the quarantine when I was still working, I would get off work after midnight and when I would come home my mom would be asleep already.

One thing that gives me joy with sheltering-in-place is I am still keeping in contact with my friends and family over FaceTime or text.


Forrest Canton

My sheltering in place location is at home. I only get out once or twice a week. I also have anxiety.

Living in a tent would be another shelter, but I would stay at home as part of my shelter since I have not been living in tents.

One thing that gave me joy the first day was that I could stay warm. One thing that gives me joy everyday while sheltering-in-place is that I could do house-related activities such as organizing my room and using the living room computer.

My experience is the same as other young people because of different reasons.


Deanna Fulford

My sheltering place is my mom’s house right now. I usually live with my mom during the week and then I stay with my dad sometimes during the weekends.

Unfortunately, my dad is stuck in Virginia on business travel, but I am hoping he will be able to come home.

One thing that gave me joy on the first day of the shelter-in-place was being able to sleep in. I did not have to get up early to work or to go to school.

Being able to sleep in is also something that gives me joy during this time but also being able to spend time with my mom and grandmother more.
Just like Werther Huang, I have not been able to focus on work. I sometimes get anxious because of what is going on, but I try to encourage and reassure myself.


Mikie Negrete

Sheltering-in-place is something that qualifies as unexplored territory for all of us regardless of the respective circumstances that we have all experienced throughout our lives.
None of us have lived through a global pandemic before. Be encouraged by knowing that we are all in this together.
Something that has given me joy and sustained me throughout this shelter-in-place is my faith in Jesus as a Christian.
I have been grounding myself in Scripture and in prayer, which is something that Christians should always do, not just in the midst of trials and tribulations. I have found encouragement from my Savior during a season in which we can all feel prone to discouragement.


Isaiah Cruz

My sheltering experience truly has been an odd but interesting experience. It is truly something I am blessed to even have the opportunity to do. Even though I am forced to be home, I can still continue my education and not have it on hold.
As for how I have been spending most of my days, it has mostly involved cleaning around the house for the first half; and then the rest of the day is for myself, which is spending time with my sister and then gaming on my laptop to free my mind from the mass hysteria.
One thing that definitely gives me joy aside from my family has been my video games since they are the easiest thing that sends me to another world with zero worries, whether it is my Switch or my laptop, I always have a game I can play that just brightens my day in an instant.
When I’m traveling for groceries or some other important reason, I always have my Switch with me.
because I would like to say that everyone, no matter how they are with family, has someone who they truly call “family” who gives them joy.


Mila Le

Right now, I am quarantined with my roommate and three other people who live with me. We are all students and had jobs before the shelter-in-place order.

Now everyone is stuck at home besides me, as I still go to work five days out of the week. It has been very strange to adapt to everything, but I have been trying my best to be productive and positive. 

In the beginning, quarantine gave me joy in the sense where I began to have so much time to myself. I was able to take more walks and enjoy the outdoors. 

In comparison to the young people in Hubei, my shelter-in-place experience is somewhat different. I also feel the anxiety and worry these young people also had. I worry about not just my family, but the world as a whole. 


Editor’s note: This article was updated May 27 to include a quote from Mila Le.