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Structure

Lucas shares the daily routine with which he's been maintaining his sanity.

Lucas shares the daily routine with which he's been maintaining his sanity.


As I alluded to a few weeks ago, a unique feature of this remote spring term we’re having has been the near-complete lack of external structure. Sometimes I have a synchronous class to go to via Zoom, but that’s pretty much it. Every other moment of my day is decided by me.

That’s been interesting.

For a while, it didn’t go very well. Like I said, drawing up and enacting my own personal schedule has been a learning process for me. At first, days flew by and I’d find myself surprised by the meals I’d forgotten and the work I’d never gotten around to doing. Now, though, I’ve found myself falling into a pretty workable, albeit taxing, routine. It’s not as rigid as it seems, because again, absent of what I’m about to outline, I have nothing. So my self-imposed structure has really helped me maintain a sense of time and make sure my days don’t escape me.

So here’s what things look like for me right now.

Wake up (~9:30am)

I wake up. I’ve gotten surprisingly good at it. I note what day of quarantine it is.

Breakfast (~9:45am)

I’ve been making almost all my own meals, which has been fun! I’m still not much of a cook (I’ve kind of settled on a rotating list of, like, three things for each meal of the day), but the physical task first thing in the morning helps me wake up, and gives me a chance to collect my thoughts and consider the day ahead before diving in.

Class (~10:00am – ~12:00pm)

This varies from day to day, but my classes tend to fall within this time frame. I go to as many synchronous Zoom meetings as I can, partly for the whole good student thing, partly so that I have some sort of human contact,and stay in touch with all the Carleton people I miss.

Lunch (~12:30pm)

This is my mental break after the day’s first work period. I digest what I’ve just learned while making myself food, which is also a physical activity that gives me the chance to get up and move after a few hours at my desk.

Homework (~1:00pm – ~6:00pm)

This term’s been a little bit harder than usual, and I think that’s come down to two factors: the shortened schedule (nine weeks instead of ten to cover the same amount of material) and the online format (which makes certain tasks take longer than they would at Normal School). It’s okay, though. Learning is my favorite thing, and if I didn’t have a lot of it to do each day I have no idea how I’d be keeping myself occupied.

Walk (~6:15pm – ~7:15pm)

When I feel like I have time (a call I’ve been making less and less frequently lately, argh), I grab my headphones, put on a mask (yes, I’m outside, but everything countsplease, think of PPE as a gesture of compassion if nothing else), and go for a walk. I love walks. They center me and rejuvenate me. I get to explore the new place I’m living in, and often take the opportunity to listen to a new album I’ve never heard before. Lastly, this is the only time in an average day I get to go outside. And vitamin D is important. And supports respiratory health.

Homework (~7:30pm – ~10:00pm)

Back at it! I often find my productivity spikes a bit here after my refreshing break (when I take one).

Dinner (~10:15pm)

I’m running out of ways to say I’ve been cooking for myself and enjoying it.

Homework (~10:30pm – ~12:00am)

I’m actually not kidding. This term has been a lot.

Fun time (~12:15am – ~12:45am)

I’ve gotten through my day! Sometimes I FaceTime a friend I haven’t seen in a while. Sometimes I watch an episode of some shows I’ve been taking comfort in. Usually I read myself a bedtime story.

Go to bed (~1:00am)

I am a night owl.

So there you have it! Sometimes I burst into a cleaning or organizing frenzy, sometimes I have laundry to do, but really, otherwise, this is what it looks like. It’s a lot of working to keep up with accelerated, Zoom-ified classes, and it is quite repetitive, but the former keeps me busy and the latter keeps me sane. So I am okay.


Lucas is sheltering in place for the rest of his sophomore year. He’s fighting his pandemic anxiety with a passion for all things nerdy and a talent for overthinking and awkwardness (and self-deprecation). He hails from Pasadena, California, and he hopes everyone is okay back there. He currently sees himself majoring in Physics, although he hopes to explore Cinema and Media Studies, Chemistry, Economics, and Computer Science (among many other subjects) as well. He misses everyone and sends his love. Meet the other bloggers!