DePaul students weigh in on working from their childhood homes

Sandra Chen, an international student, has finally made it home. 

Looking back, Chen would describe it as a “very difficult” process of researching border policies, booking the earliest possible flight, getting a medical certificate and everything in between.

Chen said she is thrilled to reunite with her family, but she is aware that the journey has just begun.

Aside from transitioning from DePaul’s Centennial Hall to her hometown of Bangkok, Chen is also transitioning from in-person classes to remote learning like all other students.

“I have a 9 p.m. class as well as a 4 a.m. class on the same day,” Chen said, who now has to keep up with the 12-hour time difference. “I often find myself losing a lot of sleep.”

Chen said she also has to worry about the internet connection, which was something she didn’t have to think about before.

Due to social distancing rules and Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s shelter-in-place orders, physical campus resources remain unavailable.

Juvy Rabelas, a freshman, echoes Chen’s problem.

“The drawback is not having access to a lot of resources such as the library and study areas,” Rabelas said, who moved back in with her family in Colorado. “My sisters often interrupt me whenever I am studying or joining online meetings.”

DePaul associate professor of communication studies, Leah Bryant, mentions that moving back home increases interdependency, or the ability to be impacted by others’ behaviors.

“Routines have to be adjusted,” Bryant said. “We all have developed routines that create difficulty navigating them around others’ routined lives.” 

As we approach week four, structures such as routines are starting to form. 

Daisy Tlatenchi, a transfer, said she has found a balance between her roles as a student and as a worker for a non-profit organization.

For Sandra Ladzik, a junior, her new routine looks like eating home cooked meals, spending time with her mom and sister while laying down on a big couch during study breaks. 

“I am just disappointed in terms of the upcoming spring events I had planned like my recital with Ignite Dance Company,” Ladzik said. “[However], I am taking this as an opportunity to spend extra time with those that mean the most to me and to make the best of the current unknown situation we are all living in.”

Now that most of us are staying home 24/7 and surrounded by our loved ones, it might be a good opportunity to strengthen these relationships.

Bryant suggests finding activities that everyone enjoys like solving puzzles or watching “Tiger King.” 

“It is also a time that families can engage in previous rituals and/or create new ones,” Bryant said. “The enactment of rituals is a kind of social glue that helps provide meaning for families.”