Among the dis-ease of a social-political era defined by the re-definition of truth emerges a new disease... literally. In the past few weeks, COVID-19 has flooded our worlds swiftly and completely. As we settle into this new chaotic normal full of boredom, debris makes its way into our homes: fear, confusion, and a new class of universal memes. Tempting as it is to see this worldwide humor as a product of technological advancements, I’m inclined to believe otherwise. I like to imagine Sir Issac Newton, while in quarantine from the bubonic plague in 1665, writing a letter to a friend:
Safety tucked away from this Black Death that infects the earth, I find my mind drifting. When Trinity College closed its doors I joked that I would spend my time looking at bits of light and staring at apples for long lengths of time— well, my friend, the fruits (I jest) of my boredom have been truly luscious.
I want to talk about allowing yourself to not be productive.
During all this time at home, I’m sure you’ve had this same dilemma. Once you finish your work for the day, you go and give your brain a break for a while. But then, guilt kicks in. I’ve been watching Netflix for 3 hours and it’s not even dark yet. Maybe I should do something productive. There’s a fine line between a well-deserved break and being lazy, right? Normally, yeah. But something we need to realize is there’s been a new normal lately.
The situation we’ve been in has offered us time that we haven’t had in years. But what’s more, the emotional toll it’s taken has drained us of any energy we maybe would’ve had normally. You know that feeling you get when Friday hits and you remember that you’re going out with your friends tonight? The zing of energy that comes from stuff like that is something we’ve been lacking.
"We have this idea that someone's phone will reveal their life, that if you found an iPhone on the streets you'd have access to photos, e-mail, notes, texts, videos, apps. Each of these would project an angle of light that would gradually illuminate a whole person. But the truth is nothing like that. The truth is that a phone will help you build something like a hologram, and if you tried to touch it, your hand would breeze right through the image." - Kate Fagan
We tend to care a lot about our phones and social media. Always worrying about what to post, what filter will make us look more appealing; always putting our best self out there for the world to see. This isn't to say our social media doesn’t reflect who we are as people or that we aren't our most genuine selves on social media; you can be. What I – along with many others I'm sure – believe is that no matter what you have on your phone or post on social media...
“You’re just living, man... you’re... just there in that moment, in that special place in time. Maybe when I get back, I can write a book about my travels, you know, about getting out of this sick society. SOCIETY! SOCIETY, MAN! SOCIETY! SOCIETY! You know, SOCIETY! Cause you know what I don’t understand, I don’t understand why people, why every fucking person is so bad to one each other, so fucking often. It doesn’t make sense to me. Judgement, control, all that the whole spectrum…”
– Alexander Supertramp, Into the Wild
“The Buddha walked away, and his look and half-smile imprinted on Siddhartha’s memory forever. I have never seen a man look and smile, sit and walk like that, he thought. I, also, would like to look and smile, sit and walk like that, so free, so...
I love social media and all the things it has to offer, but lately I’ve been finding my phone battery constantly running low, and my morale even lower. Since social media is the main way we are currently connecting with friends and family right now, I’ve found that it's taken a bigger role in my life than ever before. The only way I’m able to keep up with friends is through a Facetime call, a text, or through social media, particularly Snapchat and Instagram. I’m grateful to have these tools available to me, but I’m also finding that the negative aspects are also harder to ignore at a time like this. I normally try not to pay too much mind to the amount of likes I have, or how many people have viewed or responded to my stories, but it's hard when I am suddenly equipped with exponentially more time to look at these things. I keep finding myself falling into the loop of scrolling through Instagram and reading each name...
Realization flooded over me as my body slammed into a wall of my own idiocy. The polls were 100 feet away, and my license was laid in my top desk drawer, back in my dorm. My teeth clenched and my face felt warm as I rolled my eyes and turned around. I knew damn well the two older ladies that were speed walking past me eyed me; they even recognized my pure stupidity. Who forgets their license on their way to vote? I began the trek back to my dorm with slumped shoulders and furrowed brows. The gentle, cold breeze of the day accelerated to whip me in the face and taunt me with arctic ferocity. Why should I even make this walk again? Why even waste more time to turn back around and fill a pointless bubble in? It’s only the primaries anyways. I slammed my feet into the asphalt and the bland neighborhood around me faded from my attention as I became lost in my own mind.
Why vote when politics don’t even affect me? I crossed...
I had the privilege of traveling to Italy during January 2020. I spent the majority of my time in Rome and made some stops in places like Pompeii and Gaeta before returning to the United States. Once I was settled back into the New Hampshire lifestyle after having been immersed in Italian culture for almost two weeks, I had a chance to reflect on this life-changing experience.
Before this trip, I had never been abroad. My vacations growing up were spent at Disney World, so I did not consider myself cultured in the slightest. But, going into this abroad experience, I did have one skill that truly enhanced my time in Italy that many of my traveling companions did not: the ability to speak Italian.
I’m not 100% fluent, but I’m almost finished with the intermediate level of Italian language courses through UNH’s Italian Department. That being said, the Italian Department deserves a major shout out, because the faculty that...