Samuel Merrill is a sophomore kinesiology major from Haleiwa, Hawaii.
How has your routine changed since COVID-19?
Dramatically. Usually on a daily basis I would wake up, go to classes and to the gym. Now I am literally glued to my laptop every day almost all day. There are only a couple of hours that I can go outside and grab lunch/dinner and work out.
Do you like or dislike the change?
50/50. You can go at your own pace and that can be good. But I am a hands-on learner and prefer to be in a classroom setting.
Do you like having a room to yourself now?
Yes and no. My roommate left last semester and didn’t come back so I have had a room to myself. The new residence hall they put us in are really nice and I don’t have to share a bathroom, which is really nice. The rooms are a real upgrade, but I really miss my friends that all went home and it is sad and I feel like our year has been stolen from us. We try to stay in touch but it is not the same.
Have you discovered anything new about yourself?
It’s nice being alone once in a while. I discovered I am able to put my mind to something if I put my mind to it. With the online process, I have learned that I can focus and teach myself, apply myself.
Was there a moment when this became real for you?
My girlfriend is Chinese and her family is all from mainland China and were talking about this virus. A week or two later it started to become an eye-raiser on the news. Then I was called into a fraternity meeting and they mentioned that they would start shutting everything down. Then notice about schools on the East Coast started shutting down before us and a friend there is stuck and couldn’t come home and I realized that this is real and dangerous. Also I was visiting home for spring break because flights to Hawaii were very cheap for spring break. I took all the precautions because I wanted to see my family. The plane was almost empty. Coming back the plane was empty and I noticed everyone in face masks and wiping everything down and it was scary hearing people cough around you. The rising statistics of death due to this virus is very scary. I have never seen the planes empty before.
Is there a shoutout you want to send to anyone?
Shout out to Mom and Dad, little sister, and two dogs. Also shoutout to all of the professors out there. I know these times are stressful for you. Shoutout to all of the hospital workers and people that have to continue to work and be around the public.
Any advice to fellow students, wherever they are?
I know the change is difficult, but it can be done. Keep your mind into it. Apply yourself. We are in crazy times but take what you’ve got and make it work to the best of your abilities. You can’t see people in person but reach out to your professors via email. Try and get their numbers. Video chat. Learn how to use those new abilities and have faith in yourself. We can get through this together online.