Casey August, at Home: A History Student's Day-in-the-Life During COVID-19 (Nov. 9, 2020)

Today was unremarkable compared to most days. More or less, I followed my usual routines. This is okay, since routines are what keep a person 'all-there' during COVID-19. My roommate is living at his girlfriend's house most of the time; I try not to mind, but it's still lonely around here.


I should mention that I'm writing this on November 25- that is, several weeks after the day I'm recounting on this page. I do not recall what youtube videos I watched that day, nor the general pattern of my thoughts. However, since little has changed in my life in the time between that day and now, I do not think there will be any really problem in recounting the general course of the day, along with some highlights that are notable enough for me to be able to recall.


I woke up at 7:00am to an alarm that I had set when I was optimistic about my sleep schedule. I am still optimistic, but now only in a delusional sense. Needless to say, getting up required a few false starts.


After I got up, I went to the bathroom to shower. I shower every morning, since it's the only thing that really wakes me up. I find that if I don't shower, that day is generally a lost cause for my productivity/enjoyment of life.


After getting out of the shower, I worked out using a TRX, which is essentially a bunch of straps hung off of a door which I use to do intensively brutal body-weight exercises. I started using TRX semi-regularly in the Summer of 2019, but this Summer I was prepared to give it a real try. Since I felt discouraged from leaving the house due to the pandemic and only had a part-time volunteer research job during the Summer to occupy my time, I decided to work out using TRX every other morning. At this, I succeeded (generally speaking) and determined to try to keep it up during the Fall 2020 semester. It's been not as easy as back when I had more free time. I do still work-out, though less consistently.


After I was done working out, I made myself a light breakfast (this is usually cereal or an apple or something) and a glass of water, then sat at the kitchen table to work on my Norwegian on Duolingo while I ate. I'd decided to learn Norwegian during the Summer and have tried to work on it every day since. Norway seems like a nice place to live, or to work on some post-grad or post-doc studies (their universities are largely tuition-free, even to international students). I'm also considering specialising in Norse studies (Sagas, Vikings, etc) and I figure I should learn one of the Scandinavian languages as well. I know I'll have to learn the runic alphabet and at least some Old Norse as well, but this seems like as good a place as any to start. It also helps that Norway seems to be handling the pandemic pretty well, especially compared to Sweden.


After I finish my breakfast and Norwegian practice, I go to my desk and open my laptop. After opening up the binder for the next class, which happens to be Professor Goddard's Reformation course HIST*3750, I watch YouTube videos until class starts. Well, I usually watch YouTube videos. Today, I'm watching "The Queen's Gambit" on Netflix. It's really good. I usually watch multiple episodes at a time, but I have to stop midway to join my lecture. It occurs to me that if COVID-19 restrictions had not closed the lecture halls at UoG, I would probably have spent the time before the lecture walking from my apartment and talking with my classmates. I miss all that, but the show is really good. I've never been good at chess, but I tend to like period pieces even if they're not the best, so this was exciting. The Crown Season 4 is coming out next week, so I'll have something to watch then, too.


Now it's lunchtime. I make rice on the stovetop, which takes about 17 minutes. After that, I put a pack of 60-second curry in the microwave. This is probably my favourite lunch, since it's easy to prepare and consistently good. Consistency is important in times like these. I serve myself the curry-rice in a bowl and sit back down at my desk. Usually, I walk around the neighbourhood at about this time, but I want to keep watching "The Queen's Gambit", so I just focus on keeping myself fed until the afternoon lecture, which is the COVID course I'm writing this account for. I know you're not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition like I just did, but screw it; this is supposed to be conversational, anyway.


So the afternoon lecture is over now, and I finally decide to go for my walk. As I'm getting my shoes on, I notice the garbage is seeming pretty full. Since it's a Monday, and the garbage truck comes tomorrow, I take it up with me.


The walk was good. It was actually kind of warm, and the sun was setting, so the general vibe was very pleasant. As I walked, I was stressing over schoolwork, which is a near-constant in my life. I get good grades most times, but I know what effort I need to put in to do well, and a lot of the time that effort is hard to bring out of myself and put into practice. Still, that's a relatable problem; plenty of people have issues with procrastination. I keep walking. The breeze is nice. There are less people walking around than before the pandemic, but this was never a busy neighbourhood anyway. It's quiet, though, and the streets are wide enough and the traffic so sparse that you can easily move as far as you need in order to keep at least six feet away from anyone I might come across. I use these walks to clear my head, to make plans away from my laptop, and distraction, and time flying when I'm only somewhat having fun. What would be more fun than anything would be to have my work done; the trouble is that doing the work isn't all that fun. I know that's a bit of a truism, but I do really tend to overthink myself into inaction much of the time, even before COVID-19. Definitely something to work on.


Ordinarily, I would be spending my after school-time time on buses, going to the grocery store or Stone Road mall or someplace for food. During COVID-19, though I get around a lot less. It's harder to travel in Guelph without a car now, anyway, since buses are roughly an hour apart most of the time, so unless I get an Uber or something, I pretty much go where I can walk. I also don't go to the mall because all malls seem kind of sketchy nowadays.


After I get back from the walk, I watch more Queen's Gambit. I'd just spend the weekend working on smallish assignments (like around 1000 words or so), so I wanted to take a break. I do take some time to decide what I'm going to write for my CLAS*2150 paper. I've not written an art essay since high school, and that was for theatre, so I'm nervous. It's probably going to be something about male sculpture in the 5th century BCE. Maybe sexuality? That always stands out.



Bus Schedule in Guelph, ON. The sticker on the bottom of the sign indicates a limited frequency of buses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

My closet (left) and school organiser shelf (right). The binders in the school organiser are arranged by lecture day and time; the closet is less organised.


I like to make rice in between classes, so that I can pair it with whatever (usually it's microwave curry).

I usually have lunch at my desk while I'm waiting for my next lecture to start.

Every other Tuesday in Guelph the garbage truck comes; Since it's Monday, here I go up the stairs with my trash to put in the bin and take out to the curb.

This is what I see when I go out for a walk, usually my only outdoor time every day. I went out a little later than usual today, so the sun is setting in the photo.