The Pandemic: Preston’s Story:
About the Author:
I am Preston and am currently a student at the University of North Texas. After I graduate in May of 2022 with a Bachelor’s in Consumer Experience Management, I hope to stay in the hospitality industry and travel the world. I am an advocate for Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) because I was diagnosed with this disease when I was seven months old. I hope to spread the word so we can find a cure someday. I draw sports related art, travel, spend time with my family and friends in my free time.
Life Before The Pandemic & Reacting to COVID-19:
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: Before the pandemic hit, I was living a normal life as a college student. I was working at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in downtown Dallas on the weekends and going to classes at a community college during the weekdays. Since I couldn’t drive, I didn’t have much of a life outside of the house when it comes to extracurricular or social activities until I transferred to the University of North Texas in January, just as COVID-19 was beginning to take over the world.
Q: Describe how you initially reacted to COVID-19 and the social distancing.
A: I did not react well to social distancing as it became a reality. I moved back home during spring break and all of my classes became online, so I found myself very bored as I struggled to deal with the fact that I couldn’t leave home. I also did not like the fact that I had to wear a mask if I had to go out in public.
Life Changes & Adaptations:
Q: In what ways did your life and schedule change as a result of the coronavirus?
A: There are some ways that my life and schedule have changed due to coronavirus. My classes were all changed to online, so I had to do most of my assignments around zoom calls. In March, my month-long trip to Europe in June that I booked last summer was cancelled. Then, I ended up losing my job in May, so my schedule ended being more free than I originally thought. My life was also changed when all sports were put on hold or cancelled. That really put me over the edge as I had so much free time during the summer months with no entertainment to look forward to.
Q: What have you had to do in order to adapt to these circumstances?
A: In order to adapt, I have had to learn how to use zoom to listen to the lectures during my different classes. I have also had to look for a new job, which I just started on 8/10/20. I have also stopped watching the news since the COVID-19 outbreak began. I found that all of the news stations are only spreading negative things about coronavirus and other topics. I think that I have become a more positive person since I have stopped watching the news.
The Coronavirus & Tuberous Sclerosis:
Q: (If you are neurodiverse) how has this pandemic affected your condition(s) and/or has your condition(s) affected how you’re dealing with everything?
A: Overall, this pandemic has been very stressful for me as I took away many things that I was very excited about this year. I am prone to have occasional seizures with my condition, so I think that I have had a higher amount this year due to all of the chaos that Covid-19 has caused.
Coping With the Coronavirus:
Q: What coping mechanisms are you using in order to deal with these strange times?
A: In order to take my mind off these hard times, I decided to take two summer classes during the month of June to get some more credits out of the way. I also tried to exercise outside as much I could without avoiding the unbearable Texas heat. Finally, I started to watch some famous movies and sitcoms that I haven’t seen before to give me something to look forward to.
Life Lessons & Advice:
Q: What have you learned about yourself and the world around you from these circumstances?
A: I’ve learned that I can make it through anything that comes along in my lifetime, whether it is big or small. I’ve learned that this world is constantly changing, and we constantly adapt to the changes around the world.
Q: What advice would you give to someone like yourself that’s currently dealing with similar circumstances?
A: I would tell someone similar to myself that I am doing great and to try to stress less about the world around them because we can’t stop things from happening and the world is going to keep changing whether we like it or not.
Story by: Preston
Interviewed by: Julia Futo
Interviewed on: August 11th, 2020
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.