Today marks about a month and a half of summer vacation – though ‘vacation’ for Berkeley students doesn’t hold the same relaxed, go-somewhere-far-away notion as others may have. Many students take their 3 weeks of time off the ‘normal’ school year to invest their time into summer courses, study abroad, internships and volunteer experiences.
For me, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to spend my time this summer. While I received an internship offer from a firm in San Francisco and expected to be spending time with family and friends back home from time to time, the uncertainty of quarantine jumbled up summer plans for myself and those around me. And now while the world awaits this pandemic to the over, the end doesn’t seem too close for our state and country.
In light of our novel circumstances, I first wished situations were different but I soon realized my perspective needed to change. The time I would have spent driving all over Orange County’s ‘foodie’ locations was now mine to utilize in full potential. I began to ask myself, What do I want to do with my time before fall comes around again?
I decided to start my 10 week internship 2 weeks in advance instead of rolling around in bed and waking up at 3 P.M. in the afternoon. I’ve been fortunate enough to have an opportunity to continue working remotely and from home this Summer, and the experience has been enriching. As this is my first long-term workplace experience, while different from an in-office workspace, has been fulfilling! I enjoy waking up to weekly meetings where I get to learn the ins-and-outs of what others on my team and the company as a whole are working on. Working at a climate-impact invested company has fueled my drive and energized me again to fight for what I believe in and walk the path that I wish to.
In the meanwhile, I took advantage of the remote course offerings for the summer to get ahead in my studies while also taking some electives in Finance that I found interesting. While classwork has been piling up on the backend after work now with the start of Session C, I think spending this time to get used to remote learning has been a challenging but interesting task. I also appreciate the efforts of my instructors and peers reaching out and still providing ways to connect and provide normalcy during this time. I also decided to begin a self-paced microdegree program online – which surprisingly I am ahead of schedule for! – to further my knowledge and expertise in the field that I want to go into.
Outside of work and classes, back home I am able to do something that was so hard for me to do in my small apartment in Berkeley. I was able to start my passion for painting again! Taking this time to relax and paint has been a way for me to center myself and do something that isn’t worrying and has nothing to do with school or work or anything in between.
I think it’s really easy to fall back into a place of unsettled anxiety, boredom, and existentialism during these times. Now as parts of the country rise against the injustice of the police and penitentiary system, a home can feel both safe but apart from the rest of the world.
So before you rush into getting yourself back into a ‘normal routine’, I think redefining what normal means right now and fitting what you want to do in the bigger picture to what you are able to do can help you find meaning in these next few months.