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Julia Duchossois, current Lehigh student, adjusts to period of intense change

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The following is a submission by Julia Duchossois, ’22, to The Brown and White’s coronavirus community contribution initiative. The initiative allows Lehigh students, staff, faculty and alumni, along with Lehigh Valley residents, to share the ways in which the pandemic has impacted their lives and offers an opportunity for those stories to get published in The Brown and White. Help us document history. You can submit your story here

I have never done well with change. When I received the email saying we would not return to school, I was completely beside myself. I really like my life at Lehigh; I have amazing friends, endless opportunities, and a schedule that works for me. My life at Lehigh was my normal.

Julia Duchossois, ’22, lives in Pennsylvania and has found ways to enjoy the little things despite her initial struggles with the change brought by the pandemic. (Courtesy of Julia Duchossois)

After an abrupt move out and tearful goodbye with my friends, I couldn’t even imagine what my new normal would be. And no, I did not take it very gracefully. I moped around my childhood home for the entirety of the first few weeks, only leaving my room to go to “virtual class” and for meals. I didn’t like that everything was different, and it felt as though my life was crumbling around me.

Easter Sunday is usually one of the most important holidays for my family, and we congregate at one house to enjoy a turkey dinner. This year was a little different: my mom and I cooked the dinner, packed it into individual Tupperware containers, and delivered them to our family’s houses. Although it wasn’t our usual feast, being able to do something family-oriented felt really good.

When I was finally done feeling sorry for myself, I started adding things to my schedule in hopes that my life could feel normal again. Running, something I once hated, has now become a part of my daily routine. I’m not very fast, but I have really enjoyed making progress, and going for a run boosts my mood almost immediately.

Duchossois said she discovered a rainbow while on a run at the Norristown Farm Park in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. (Courtesy of Julia Duchossois)

Once every weekend, my extended family meets at my grandmothers’ house and we sit six feet apart outside, catching each other up on our lives in quarantine. My mom and I have been able to binge watch multiple Netflix shows, which is something we haven’t been able to do since I left for school.

As time is going on, I am realizing that these little things that I have added to my life have made big changes to my perspective on being in quarantine. I am grateful that I am healthy, that I have a great support system, and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. My life here is not the same as it is at school, but I think I’m OK with that.

I have never done well with change, but thanks to the coronavirus, I am learning.

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