Quarantine Diaries : Uncertainty is demoralizing

Quarantine Diaries : Uncertainty is demoralizing

Kenza Mourji

Name: Kenza Mourji

Class Year: Junior

Home Country: Morocco

Where you are currently: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

What was your experience trying to get home?

Morocco, my country, closed its borders the Sunday following our campus shutdown. I’ve been in close communication with my embassy and they have been working very hard with the Morocco authorities in the mainland as to come up with a plan to bring us all home safely as soon as possible.

What has been the hardest thing about this online term so far?

I think it’s safe to say that most students will respond to this question by saying it has been particularly hard to find motivation. Not being in a setting we usually associate with work or that we have accustomed ourselves to working in really destabilizes our ability to focus and complete certain tasks. It feels like everything has to be relearned in this new environment: how to study, how to stay organized, how to stay motivated.

What do you miss most about being at Union?

I miss everything about Union; I miss my friends, my classes, being able to do research, and so so so many campus events. Anyone at Union would agree that everyone was looking forward to enjoying spring term, spring fest, and alumni weekend. Although I’m disappointed we had to cancel many club events such as our annual TEDx conference, I’m glad we are able to hold other events online, like Pangea!

How have you adjusted to this unexpected situation?

I’ve been able to adjust to this situation well enough because I was lucky enough to be able to move in with my childhood best friend (from Morocco) who goes to Temple in Philadelphia. One of her housemates went home when their campus shut down, so I was able to move in! Although I can’t go to Morocco, being with a friend I’ve known most of my life definitely helps me feel more at home.

How is your country affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic?

According to what I gathered from what my family has told me in addition to what I see in the news, although the pandemic is not out of control in Morocco, it’s costing a lot of resources. However, Morocco is being incredibly proactive and efficient, which I never would have expected. The kingdom has been producing 5 million masks daily, enough that some will be exported as well. Not only are the supermarkets well stocked, but they have strict and efficient sanitation protocols meant to minimize contamination amongst customers. It is mandatory to wear a mask at all times (when outside) and to have a permit stating that your district has given you permission to leave your home for certain tasks (specified in the permit, such as grocery shopping or even necessary doctor appointments). Even then, for certain things (such as groceries), people should not leave their district.

What are you looking forward to most about coming back to Union in the fall?

On the one hand, I am so excited and can’t wait to get back to campus and be with my friends; however, being a senior means next year will be my last year at Union. Still, I am really looking forward to taking full advantage of my last few terms at Union.

What would you say to other Union students about coping with the current pandemic, and making the most of this current situation?

I would remind them to focus on what they can control. Uncertainty is demoralizing, but dwelling on what could be or could’ve been will only lead to more anxiety. Instead, spend your time and energy investing into yourself, into your classes, into your hobbies, listen to your body and just take care of yourself. In times like these, it’s important to stay in touch with family and friends, make sure to not isolate yourself.