The Pandemic: Hannah’s Adaptation to Change:
About the Author:
Hannah recently finished her last year at the College Internship Program in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. She’s currently working in her career as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant). Hannah reports that it’s been a challenging job yet very researching in many ways. She is currently living with her boyfriend who has been her motivation to become a better young adult. Her parents have been along her side through her journey and continue to keep being by her side. Hannah reports that she wouldn’t have graduated from CIP without them, because “They have done so much for me.” Hannah is looking forward to sharing her story because she believes it needs to be heard. “You’re not alone, the feelings you’re going through is normal! Let yourself feel those emotions.”
Life Before the Pandemic:
Q: Describe your everyday life before the pandemic hit. Include aspects of your life such as work, school, extracurricular activities you did, and other social aspects of your life.
A: My life before the pandemic was normal for me. I went to work as CNA and worked long hours as I still went to my classes in person. Everything was great. I got to still hang out quite a bit with my boyfriend and friends. I also got to be a part of my family in person before the pandemic occurred.
Reacting to the Coronavirus & Changes in Schedule:
Q: Describe how you initially reacted to COVID-19 and the social distancing.
A: I couldn’t react to COVID-19 and the social distancing the way I wanted to. I was scared and confused. It definitely took me on an unexpected roller coaster of emotions. For someone social like myself, I couldn’t handle it well. I thrive on my social interactions. It was so hard not being around my family the way I used to.
Q: In what ways did your life and schedule change as a result of the coronavirus?
A: As a result of COVID-19, my schedule was totally different! I wasn’t sure where I’d go when I was told I couldn’t go back to my apartment on campus. Having to adjust taking classes online while balancing a busy work schedule was already hard enough on me. As I couldn’t get back on campus, I had to adjust to a new lifestyle. For about 2-3 months, my life consisted of a hotel bedroom, a limited spaced fridge for food. I had to also continue working full time through the pandemic and coordinate good sleeping patterns.
Adapting & Coping With Change:
Q: What have you had to do in order to adapt to these circumstances?
A: Some of the challenges I’ve faced are the changes of my work schedule alongside with my classes. I learned how to prepare meals with just a microwave, a crockpot, and plenty of creativity. I had to stay active and learned to cope with the new difficulties of not being able to be with my family. I learned how to talk to a therapist and express my feelings in a healthy way.
Q: What coping mechanisms are you using in order to deal with these strange times?
A: I have so many coping mechanisms. I exercise daily, paint, draw, and call my family. I reached out to my mom, and learned family is always going to be by my side, even if I couldn’t see them in person.
Life Lessons & Advice:
Q: What have you learned about yourself and the world around you from these circumstances?
A: I learned how to love myself and discovered my strength by facing these challenges. The world around me taught me it’s okay to be scared but don’t let it control your everyday life. It also taught me that when people come together and help each other, we can overcome any challenge.
Q: What advice would you give to someone like yourself that’s currently dealing with similar circumstances?
A: My advice is to take it day by day and minute by minute. Love those around you, love yourself as well. My biggest advice is to become closer to the family you have and love them unconditionally!
Hearing About Different Brains:
Q: How did you hear about Different Brains, or what is your involvement with it?
A: I heard about Different Brains from CIP Berkshire’s Program Director Jenna Knauss and asked if I was interested in an interview. I said “Of course! I’d love to share my story.”
Interviewed on: August 28th, 2020
Interviewed by: Julia Futo
Julia Futo was born on August 5th, 1999, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She faced difficulties early on in life with trying to perform everyday tasks. Before she was five years old, she was diagnosed with two learning disabilities: Encephalopathy and developmental coordination disorder (DCD). She struggled in school for a long time, but that changed when she took journalism in high school and learned how to become an advocate. She is currently in college and hopes to help others find their voices.