Being at Home for the School Year

– Vanessa Elizabeth Ayoung-Chee, Content Director

It might seem weird that the choice being written about last, happened before most of the other ones did. I am sorry if those in my situation hadn’t had someone to relate to until now, but it is because I wasn’t sure what to say about it for a while. On one hand I am happy to be at home (Trinidad and Tobago), but when I think of home now, I imagine both Trinidad and Toronto. In Trinidad I have my family, the warm sun all year round, the home I grew up in, the food from mom that I can never get right myself. In Toronto I had the friends I made, new favourite restaurants, the freedom of a short walk to anything I needed. When COVID hit, both options were affected. In Toronto, I could not see my friends or leave my apartment, and in Trinidad were my family, separated for what felt like forever because Trinidad closed its borders. Citizens were repatriated slowly and eventually in October I was allowed to come home, just in time to run away from the cold weather. 

Learning from home felt strange for a while. Aside from learning online vs in person, I was used to speaking a *certain way* that my parents wouldn’t necessarily like, eating at odd hours, drinking coffee (not allowed in my house because mom thinks I will develop heart problems), and probably many more things that don’t come to mind anymore because I have forgotten what it used to be like. And that’s the first thing, I have forgotten what life used to be like. It sounds so scary because this current situation feels dreadfully permanent. I have to keep reminding myself that nothing is permanent and I can’t and shouldn’t try to predict if things will return to “normal”. The second thing is that I recognise that there are students who moved back home due to COVID that have bigger problems than not being allowed to swear or drink coffee. There are students suffering from financial struggle, mental health issues that arose from COVID or got worse because of it, etc. It makes me worry because the most I can do is think about it and acknowledge that it is happening. 

My advice is this, If you are in a place of privilege during this pandemic, acknowledge it, and remember that it doesn’t invalidate your own problems. To those who may be struggling, I am in no place to give you advice, however, you have a friend in me and many other students. You can also reach out to faculty such as the first year office if you need help and have no idea what resource to go to. They can direct you according to your situation. I can only hope that my sharing helps someone.