Sonoma State University Student, Justina Deely, Danville, CA USA

“I am 25 years old, and still figuring out my way in life one day at a time…Overall this experience has really taught me to be more thankful, to always remember to not take life for granted, and having a moment to ‘be still’ is necessary…”

Justina Deely

Justina was born in Oakland, California and is currently residing in Danville, California with her adopted family after being evacuated from her school Sonoma State University as a result of the pandemic.

Tina says her long-term goals include graduating from college and eventually moving out of her family’s house to start a life of her own using her degree from SSU focused in “Early Childhood Education.” She’s currently not 100% sure if she still wants to pursue a career in early childhood teaching immediately after graduation, but does want to have a career that gives her the opportunity to work with children.

“I am 25 years old, and still figuring out my way in life one day at a time…” Tina declared.

Tina is powering through quarantine and her online classes at home with a learning disability. She expresses her frustration toward current events in the United States by sharing her anxieties regarding the painful emotions this situation has caused for her, as a woman of color — with retired, white police family members — as she’s walking around her own (recently threatened) hometown in the East Bay. She details how she uses prayer and patience to get through her daily routine sheltering in place. Read more about Tina’s COVID Chronicle, below:

Tina’s Recent Birthday Celebration with her sister and friends

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced during quarantine/the COVID crisis?

“I have a learning disability, so the greatest challenge I’ve faced involved school with transitioning from having classes in-person to classes going fully online — knowing very well that I learn better being taught in person. I also had never taken a class online so it made me feel worried. I did fall behind with completing classwork on time from a lack of motivation at first during the change, but I was able to catch up and I passed the classes.

Having to pack my belongings up at the suite I was living in on campus and move back home [with little warning] was a bummer, but I felt being safe at home with family was for the best. My first year as a transfer student at SSU was cut very short — not only from the COVID crisis, but the huge wildfire in Sonoma County in October of 2019.

The school made everyone evacuate, even though we weren’t being threatened by the fire — but for other safety reasons. There were also multiple times the power was cut off in October that left SSU students out of class for almost two weeks.” 

Go SSU Seawolves!

How has the pandemic affected your everyday life? 

“The pandemic hasn’t largely affected my everyday life, but I’ve missed having to walk to class, seeing friends during prayer and worship night gatherings on campus every Saturday evening, having a quiet place to do work such as the library and living back at home full-time again took away some of the freedoms I had while living at SSU. I was also more “out and about” when I was away at school — but now, being home, I haven’t been able to continue this.” 

Is there anything you feel that this experience has taught you that you’d like to share as inspiration?

“Sometimes we all need a bit of a break and reminder to slow down a bit in life. I have learned greatly the importance of self-care and being more appreciative. Having to distance from extended family and friends for weeks was very difficult as I am sure it was for many people, but that experience taught me to have patience with being able to be around them again. After a while, I began to see some friends while socially distancing but very few family members.

Overall this experience has really taught me to be more thankful, to always remember to not take life for granted and having a moment to be still is necessary.”

Getting Fresh Air

What has been your general daily routine so far during the pandemic?

“I haven’t really had a “set” general daily routine, but every morning after I wake up I have a cup of coffee, spend some time getting updated on my phone, eat breakfast, pray, and read daily devotionals from two books that I have, get ready for the day, get some type of outdoor exercise in, and let the day play itself out.”

“Out and about” walking the dog

Has this travel ban/quarantine situation impacted any important plans you had laid out for the near future? 

“My family had plans to travel to Europe in June, but the trip is now postponed hopefully for the summer of 2021. No payments were officially made, but it was a bummer having to put those plans to the side.”

A Scenic Day Trip

Anything else at all, you’d like to share about how you’re feeling right now?

“Recently, with the sickening murder of another black man by a white cop which has caused outrage throughout the country it has made me feel a lot of emotions… as I know many others do too. I have had some difficulty processing all this as a woman of color having white, retired police family members. 

I’m also still feeling anxious for the quarantine to be lifted.” 

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