Alison Schaeffing, Ph.D., director of service learning and adjunct professor, invited her WORLD 401 students to share what is keeping them #SageStrong during the COVID-19 crisis.

Lauren Guynup ’20, Business Major

Beach in Montego Bay, JamaicaThis picture was taken on the beach in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the week of spring break. I look at it as a beautiful picture of the ocean where both the weather and water were warm. Looking back over the past few weeks I can’t help but make the comparison of the ocean to what is currently happening in our world with COVID-19. The ocean can be rough and tumultuous at times.These times represent the hardships and challenges that we are facing in life right now. What I tell myself is that life, like the ocean, the waves will calm, the waters will clear and life will get back to normal. Even if the landscape changes a little along the way.

Marissa Hull ’20, Nutrition Major

Marissa Hull's piano

During this very difficult and stressful time, it is important to find something that can calm you down and make you happy. For me, especially with classes being online, I have had a hard time getting out of my bedroom. I sleep, watch TV, eat meals and do homework on my bed all day long. Doing this day in and day out has made me feel very unhappy. However, starting a couple days ago, I have been playing the piano. I used to play all the time growing up, but once I started college, it was difficult to find time to practice. Now that I don’t spend time commuting to school or being in a classroom, I have been able to find time to play again. I never realized how much I missed playing and how happy it made me. I have now replaced watching TV and being on social media with playing the piano and it makes me feel more productive and gets me out of my bedroom. I love that I have found something that makes me happy and I find it even more special because I haven’t done this activity in a while. It made me realize I can take advantage of this scary and depressing time and do something that will better myself. My advice to anyone struggling to do something productive would be to think of something that you used to do all the time but haven’t had time to do it in a while. It may be coloring, writing in a journal, or even catching up with a friend that you haven’t talked to in years. It is crucial to find something to keep you distracted, productive, and happy.

Micalli Johnston ’21, Health Science Major

Micalli Johnston ’21 and her dogThese past two weeks I had to pack up my dorm, say goodbye to my friends and leave campus way too soon. Sage has also had to switch to online classes which isn’t my ideal way to learn and isn’t always easy. Although this time is an adjustment, I am so happy and grateful for my great professors who have made this change as smooth as possible. I’m also thankful I am safe and healthy as are my family members and close friends. I now am listening to lectures and finishing homework from the comfort of my couch or bed with my favorite four-legged friend Stanley. He hasn’t been too successful in his attempts at social distancing because he is too happy I’m home, hence the mask. But in all seriousness take this time to work on things you can control like learning new hobbies, spend this extra time with family members, work on your mental health and self-care or be on time to Zoom lectures. We will all return back to Sage when it is safe and we should be thankful that we can continue the semester from home as we continue to take precautions to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

Lauren Matthews ’20, Nursing Major

Lauren Matthews' dogThis is super small for some, but for me this is everything. Having such a busy schedule between two jobs and full-time nursing school, getting to take my dog for a walk and watch her run in the sunlight means the world to me. Getting to be up, getting to walk and move my body in this way is something I took for granted. Seeing her explore, getting to walk with my mom, getting time alone has renewed a sense of positivity in me. It has gotten some of my family members and friends out to walk and enjoy the time we have in a healthy way.

Balqees Sayed ’20 Psychology Major

Afghan food

As a psychology student, I understand stress and anxiety very well. And as an international student, living on my own for the past few years, I for sure know the struggle of being alone and the anxiety it brings. So, one of the things I do to help me with my stress and anxiety is cooking. Afghans are known for their delicious cuisine. Kid you not, we have some of the best dishes in the world. I have many delicious, easy, and healthy recipes that I can cook. Thanks to my mom for sending most of the Afghan recipes to me. So, to combat my stress with classes going online and the whole COVID-19 pandemic, I have been preparing meals for myself. It helps me a lot in fighting my anxiety. Cooking is both physical and psychological work. In this picture, I have used my mom’s recipe for making potatoes and I have used the long grain rice, which is widely used in Afghan dishes, that Indians call Basmati rice. I am hoping everyone can find a hobby to keep themselves busy and combat the stress and anxiety they are going through.

Prya Sookhlall ’20, Nursing Major

 Prya Sookhlall's family
During this difficult time it is easy to become angry and upset. Things are drastically changing and many of our plans have been pulled from right under us. It is very unfortunate that we cannot do the normal things that we want to do such as seeing our friends in college, going to parties or concerts, going on vacation, etc. It is times like these that we should reflect on all the positive things we have in life – we are fortunate enough to be able to get an education (even if it is online for the time being) – whereas many other individuals in other countries do not have that luxury. We are all fortunate enough to live in a country that offers exceptional health care – whereas other countries do not have the capacity. Another thing that I have learned to really appreciate these past couple of weeks during my time at home, is how lucky I am to have such a great family. It is easy to get carried away with the duties of normal life, such as going to school and working, and we might struggle connecting with our families in the midst of being so busy. While we are all sad about what is happening right now in the world – let’s not forget about what is most important – and that is family. Use this time as an opportunity to spend some valuable time with your loved ones. Time is so precious. Being home has helped me realize how many things I am grateful to be able to have in my life – and you all should do the same! This is a picture of my family.