Last year, I got my first taste of freedom as I finally left home and was living on my own on campus. I had my own routine, I was keeping myself accountable for classes and chores, I was working part-time at Starbucks, and I didn’t have to tell anyone where I was going when leaving campus. I felt like an adult and like I could take care of myself, as scary as that had seemed during the first few weeks.
That freedom was quickly taken away from me and from many other students when COVID-19 hit us during March. I had to pack up all of my things and move back home with my mom, step-dad, and step-brother. I went through a mourning process as I was no longer able to go to classes and see friends and couldn’t even go out of the house most of the time. Going through natural disasters like the wildfires and the ice storm made me painfully aware of how little personal space and independence I had.
I’ve been living at home for over a year now after getting four or five months where I was on my own. Living at home has its benefits like not having to pay for on-campus housing but it’s also frustrating. Sometimes class or meeting zoom calls are interrupted by someone coming into my room without knocking, people are somehow incredibly loud when I’m trying to study or focus, I have to tell people where I’m going yet I get no heads up about plans or about how long people will be gone. Since the pandemic, I’ve butted heads with my parents a lot, to a point where I’m exhausted and mostly try to keep to myself. It’s tough trying to be an adult when you’re still living at home and being treated like a kid.
One thing I’m really not looking forward to is re-integrating into society once I do get the vaccine and can come back to campus. I remember the first two or three weeks of being on campus where I was homesick and didn’t know many people. I also just don’t think I remember how to normally interact with anyone anymore because it’s been so long. As much as I’d love to get out of here and have that independence, I’m also scared to repeat the pain of leaving home again. — Grace Alexandria
Photo by Grace Alexandria: Alexandria’s home in Stayton, Oregon during sunset.