COVID-19 BLOG: Staying connected

Ariana+Madson+%28far+right%29+poses+with+her+roommates+for+a+picture+on+their+last+night+as+first-year+students+in+spring+2018.+From+L+to+R%3A+Natalie+Schmaus%2C+Alissa+Wuorinen+and+Kate+Lawlor.+Photo+courtesy+of+Ariana+Madson.

Ariana Madson (far right) poses with her roommates for a picture on their last night as first-year students in spring 2018. From L to R: Natalie Schmaus, Alissa Wuorinen and Kate Lawlor. Photo courtesy of Ariana Madson.

When I received the “I’m here” text just before spring break began, I started frantically grabbing all my belongings. 

I gave my roommates some short hugs with “I love you; I’ll see you in a week.” The day before, I had gone to one of my best friend’s classes with her just for fun and gave her a quick hug before I had to head back to my apartment. Now I wish I would’ve hugged them all a little bit longer.

To be honest, this whole thing hasn’t been easy, as I’m sure it hasn’t been for everyone else.

Coming to Marquette, I realized I found my lifelong people. My roommates and I were placed randomly together and have been together, all four of us, since my first year in school. For the past year, we had our first apartment experience. One of my roommates couldn’t live with us last summer, so the whole time since the beginning of the school year, we talked about how excited we were to live together this coming summer.

We all had something lined up for summer jobs. However, one of my roommates just had her summer plans canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was supposed to be our last summer together. Though we will be living with each other next academic year, it’s still tough.

In coping with this new social isolation, turning to music is what I’ve done. It’s something I’ve always done. I’ve spent time writing new music and learning new songs. It’s a way for me to rediscover and connect to myself in a time where I feel completely out of control.

The biggest thing I’ve found that brings me peace and comfort is make sure to keep in (almost) constant contact with my roommates. I text them every day and we have a Teams chat at least once a week just so we can still be connected even if we aren’t together.

One of my roommates and I began utilizing the Netflix Party installation and are now watching “Jane the Virgin” together every night. One of my roommates and I will FaceTime each other everyday and just keep each other on mute while doing homework, just so we can feel like we’re together. It’s not the same, but it’s the closest grasp I have on a new sense of normal.

Along with keeping up with my roommates, I’ve been writing a lot of letters to those I care about. I’ve always been fond of letter writing, but I feel like the art of someone’s thoughts to paper and knowing they took physical time to write something down yields a sense of togetherness. The saying of “say what you need to say” has never taken a truer form for me and I think it’s important now more than ever to reach out, whether it be through online face chatting or kicking it old school with letters.

I know I’m not the only one feeling frustrated. I know I’ve never done well with change. But I know that during this time of social distancing, everyone must do their part for the benefit of others as well as themselves.

If anything, this has made me realize that you can never give too much. I see the little control I have and the importance of taking the time I have on this earth to use what I’ve been gifted with to make an impact. 

The next time I’m with my roommates, my best friends or those I’ve surrounded myself with, I won’t forget to let them know how much they mean to me. I’ll take advantage of all the time I’m given because with everything happening, it truly can be gone in the blink of an eye.

This story was written by Ariana Madson. She can be reached at [email protected]