This blog post was contributed by Carolina Sarria, an Education Abroad peer advisor who helped other Longhorns begin their own transformative education abroad adventures.
I have now been at home for almost 7 weeks. It’s been so long since I’ve been in Austin, seen my friends, been on campus, or walked outside with a sense of normalcy. There have been times where it’s been okay, and other times when I logged into Zoom for class from my bed because I couldn’t be bothered to walk fivesteps to my desk.
It’s a tough time for everyone. We’ve all been impacted in some way by these abrupt changes in our daily lives. Even though I’m an introvert and appreciate time to myself, I miss being with my friends and experiencing all that our campus has to offer. I’m hoping we’ll be able to go back to in-person classes in the fall, but I know only time will tell what the best course of action will be.
I think it’s important to recognize that it’s okay to be disappointed and feel upset or scared about what’s happening around us. It’s understandable that we can’t function at our very best during such a stressful time. Some people are able to be more productive than before, but others are not. Some people have adjusted to online classes, but others don’t have the same support or means to work in the same way as before. We need to recognize these situations. I have tried to find different ways to pass the time so that I can focus on school and work, but I still think a lot about the people I can’t see or the activities that have to be put on hold. One of the things keeping me going is knowing that this won’t last forever.
One of the things I miss most about being at the Texas Global office is seeing my coworkers. They are hilarious and super fun to be around, and it just isn’t the same having our team meetings online. But we have still found ways to stay connected: a few weeks ago, we all got together on a Saturday night to have a group dinner through Zoom. That definitely brightened my weekend.
I have been able to do a few advising sessions through Zoom, and it’s nice to be able to help students think about study abroad plans for the near future when it becomes safe to travel again. This past year, I’ve advised people from all kinds of majors, backgrounds, and who have such different career goals, and I’m honestly inspired by the conversations we’ve had. To me, people who want to travel, experience other cultures, and learn new things are the coolest kinds of people. That’s probably why the peer advisors have gotten along so well. Despite how different we all are, we are trying to help students have amazing, eye-opening experiences like we did.