Coronavirus Diaries: Sarah Raza


My dad suggested that I get a bike because he noticed me staying cooped up in my room all day during quarantine. I can’t thank him enough for his idea, because biking gives me a chance to get a breath of fresh air, exercise and have some quality me time. It’s probably what I look forward to most everyday and it keeps me happy.

Sarah Raza, Editor-in-Chief

Coronavirus Diaries is a series of diary-type entries written by students and staff documenting the day to day activities and experiences in quarantine. If you are interested in submitting an entry, contact us at [email protected] 

It seems like it was only yesterday when the coronavirus felt like a subtle threat that could never harm the bubble of the world that I live in. I am extremely grateful to be living in a place that seems to always be unaffected by whatever is going on in the news, and while I would keep up to date with what’s occurring in the world, I always felt like I lived in a separate reality that could not experience the same problems and suffering that others faced. During the Ebola and Zika virus pandemics, I was unaffected. During the Australian wildfires that caused thousands to lose their homes, I was unaffected. During the endless years of hearing about the various types of crises in areas like Yemen and Rohingya, I was unaffected. So when the coronavirus pandemic started spreading, I refused to believe it would interfere with reality. That was an ignorant thought.

Day by day, I watched as everything around me changed. Schools and businesses closed, a trip to Costco made me shiver due to the apocalyptic atmosphere and society came to a sudden halt. Every morning, just when I thought the news couldn’t possibly get any worse, I was repeatedly proven wrong. Toward the end of March, I felt an inability to do anything productive because I felt constant anxiety from wondering how the world would cope with this pandemic. The possibility of a depression, the federal government’s inability to properly help healthcare workers and the rising number of deaths filled me with frustration and hopelessness.

Nonetheless, I still try my best to be optimistic. It comforts me to hear when animals are starting to thrive from a lack of human oppression, or that air pollution is decreasing. I believe this pandemic has exposed the inequality of our healthcare system, the fact that most essential workers are among those least paid and that our economy is more fragile than we think. It also ironically seems that the more this virus strips away much of what makes us human, the more it reminds us of what it means to be human. With establishments such as restaurants and movie theaters closed, we begin to realize that social interaction is vital. Talking to my friends, hearing their bright laughter in person and giving them a big, tight hug are moments I took for granted, and my appreciation for not only my friends, but being around people in general has grown enormously. Seeing people on social media or Zoom cannot replace seeing people in real life. The connection just isn’t the same. We have also been taught once again by nature that no matter our race, nationality, gender, religion, social status and political affiliations, we are all part of humanity. It’s touching to nowadays see countries with tense relations put aside their differences and work alongside one another to create a vaccine for the greater good.

On a more personal level, I have been reminded of how thankful I am to have such a loving family. With school no longer in session, I have gradually come to enjoy my slower pace of life. This pandemic has given me a chance to do things I always wanted to do, but never had the time for. During quarantine, my parents and I have started working on our garden, eating meals and watching shows together and going for frequent walks. I even assembled a newly bought bike with my dad so that I could escape from my house sometimes and go on adventures, which has improved my mental health drastically. Before the coronavirus, these moments would rarely happen because of our hectic lives. I can’t even remember the last time all three of us were in the backyard enjoying the beautiful sunshine, but this pandemic has provided me with more quality time with my family.

I’ve also been living my dream life in recent days since about mid-April, when I finally started to get myself organized. Every night, I go to bed at 10:30 p.m. and wake up at 6:45 a.m. with my mom, and we take our time eating a healthy breakfast that I normally wouldn’t be able to eat on a school morning because of how slow of an eater I am. I also spend significantly less time on my phone than I normally would, and I fill up my time with reading, simply enjoying the company of my parents, basking in the sunshine while listening to music on my porch, doing some academic work and taking online courses on Coursera (currently I’m completing the Science of Well-Being course, which has been acknowledged as one of the most popular courses at Yale University. I highly recommend it, especially due to our present situation).

While it can seem like nothing is right in this world at the moment, I encourage you to find what makes you happy and to seize your free time to do it. In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity. We may never have this much time on our hands again. I know you are probably complaining of boredom, and I was too at the beginning of quarantine. But if you think about it, there’s really no such thing as boredom. That probably sounds annoying, but you have to take the initiative to spend time learning a new language or mastering a complicated recipe. There’s always something to be done, you just have to dwell on what meaningful activity you would like to spend time on and muster up the energy to do it. While you’re at it, take some time to enjoy the little things around you. Enjoy a breath of fresh air. Enjoy your family’s company. Enjoy all the time you have to exercise. I promise you that we will all get through this. Alone we can do so little, but by playing our part in fighting this pandemic by social distancing together, we will overcome. We always do.