In unprecedented and uncertain times, it’s important to remain human. Voices from around the globe have shared their stories of quarantine, self-isolation and social distancing. Listening to these stories may provide comfort, solace, inspiration or hope.
The Nevada Sagebrush reports to you now miles from the University of Nevada, Reno. Out of office and away from the action. Though the newsroom has ceased its print publication for the remainder of the semester, reporting and content creation still remain in the works. The love and passion for journalism never left the hearts of the staff.
Ryan Freeberg — Sports Editor
The cheese has slid off my cracker. I’m a few sandwiches short of a picnic basket. I’m beginning to go stir crazy.
I’m sure this is a feeling that many are having. We’re all going through some element of this. That’s what’s helping me get through this—that I’m not alone in this feeling.
Crying over this situation is selfish. The majority of Americans and citizens of the world have had to drastically adjust their lives to fit within new mandates. We are not in this alone.
I’ve found that setting mini-goals is proving beneficial. Short, attainable goals that one can reach within an hour. These little accomplishments keep me going throughout the day.
Taylor Johnson — News Editor
I’m currently doing school and working for the Nevada Sagebrush in Las Vegas. Quarantine has been interesting for me. Usually, when I’m home, my parents are working, so it’s been nice to spend some time with them. Zoom classes have been difficult for me though. I learn much better through lectures I attend physically than virtually.
As one of the news editors, there have been consistent breaking news stories coming out. I’m extremely proud of the resilience my peers have during this time.
If I’m not working on schoolwork or work for the Sagebrush, I’m playing Persona 5 Royal. It’s been nice having a bit of time to myself, but I’m definitely excited to come back to Reno when the time comes.
Rylee Jackson — Arts & Entertainment Editor
Still doing school and working for the Sagebrush during this quarantine has been an interesting experience. Adjusting to Zoom classes, meetings and online discussion posts took a while to get used to, but the professors have been so understanding during this whole situation.
As far as writing for the Arts & Entertainment section goes, it’s unfortunate we won’t be able to cover events for the rest of the Spring semester, but on the bright side, pop culture hasn’t stopped. From the Instagram producer battles to “Tiger King,” entertainment has been a great way for all of us to escape the uncertainties going on for a moment. The rest of the Sagebrush staff is doing an incredible job with everything and making the best of it—and that’s all we can do.
Taylor Avery — News Editor
On March 1, I was thinking about the ASUN elections. I was thinking about debates and candidates and scandals. I was thinking about midterms and papers and spring break.
On April 1, I was thinking about how to escape Elko.
If you know me, you know I thrive on being busy. I enjoy being busy. I operate best when I am busy. Quarantine is the worst thing you can do to a busy person, especially one who never knows the best time to tap out.
I cover ASUN for the Nevada Sagebrush. If you didn’t know, the Senate has moved its meetings online via Zoom. It’s nice to be able to leave when I need to, especially when the meetings last more than three hours. But it is not quite the same as sitting in the room with the senators.
Not many people outside of the Association care as much about Senate and its business as I do, and I take a certain pride in being its watchdog.
I am a private person, but it is hard to overstate just how difficult this quarantine has been for my own mental health. I feel like I’m stuck in a cycle of peaking—feeling motivated to finish homework, write stories, work out—and hitting rock bottom, where everything feels endless, hopeless and helpless.
I’m thankful to be safe in Elko, which has had no new cases in weeks, with my healthy family. I am fortunate to have understanding professors and a strong leader as my boss at the Sagebrush. I feel lucky to have friends that I talk to every week and that check on me.
My friends and I joke that college friendships are just trauma bonds. I can’t think of many other things that have been quite as bonding as this experience.
Matt Cotter — Staff Writer
I’m not working from home per se, I’m living in an off-campus apartment in Reno. I do find writing for the Sagebrush during this time has helped me stay productive and busy, and given me an outlet to practice writing (and a healthy outlet to dump all of my opinions into instead of just talking at my roommates about them).
During this time, I’ve also noticed I’ve felt less stressed in regards to school. I’m not exactly stoked about how dead the weekends are—no parties, no dinners out with friends, no bars—but my classes have been more casual and my workload severely decreased. I’ve found more time to jog, practice other hobbies, and cook, and I have to admit it’s kind of nice to run outside with little-to-no foot traffic. It’s kind of peaceful. It’s given me a lot of time to myself and try to be more present and relaxed.
Vincent Rendon — Opinion Editor
I feel so empty sometimes. Everything about the quarantine situation feels so bleak. School from home is depressing, Zoom classes are a special type of hell for me. During my 9:00 AM classes I just plug my headphones in and fall back asleep to the soothing sound of lectures. I think the worst part is, despite literally being stuck at home, I feel busier than ever. Perhaps it is because it is impossible to work efficiently with my family bustling around the house, or maybe because my mind is stuffed full of bizarre and sad news stories that I can’t focus on my work. Either way, this sucks, and I can’t imagine a way it would stop sucking, so I’m just trying my best to remain hopeful. On a bright note, I’ve cooked some really good meals and watched some really good movies.
Andrew Mendez — Spanish Editor
The only word I can use to describe the COVID-19 quarantine is: anxiety. My life has turned into a mess of self isolation. I work from home—in Las Vegas—for the Sagebrush as well for KUNR Public Radio, Northern Nevada’s NPR affiliate station.
On top of having to complete articles and edit work, I am also enrolled full time as a student. My bedroom does not feel like my safe space anymore. I cannot escape work or school. Instead it mixes into my personal way of living. It’s times like these where I wish my Monday nights were still spent at the Sagebrush office getting the paper in. I miss being able to walk along campus and stay in a building where I feel I can be productive. I miss seeing my friends in person. The situation has made me regress back to a time where I was subjected to every order given.
I don’t really have my independence. If I am not working or in a zoom class, I am, instead, trying to help my mom translate documents and help her understand certain language used in paperwork. I am also picking up more chores around the house and doing tasks that further add-on to my school and work stresses.
Although my situation is far from ideal, I have taken this time to think of areas in my life I have control over and can change moving forward. I read more on my downtime and I am reconnecting with friends I have lost contact with. Even though these tasks have helped me, my comfort comes from the weekly Zoom calls, Google Hangouts and Facetime calls with friends and coworkers.
Sarah Strang — Managing Editor
I can’t say this has been easy for me, it hasn’t been for any of us. I miss my university, I miss my friends and I miss long Monday nights filled with varying degrees of chaos at the Sagebrush office trying to pull together an eight page newspaper. Reporting isn’t the same from home and I will say it is exponentially harder. Yet I am, by far, one of the lucky ones.
My days are now filled with the wash, rinse, repeat cycle of seldom ever leaving my house, waking up at an unreasonable hour in the afternoon and opening Twitter more times than I should be allowed to. And so far I have chosen to take the time forced upon me and improve myself a little bit everyday.
I won’t talk about the fact that my day is mostly consumed by the endless Twitter feed on my timeline. But I have rediscovered my love for creating visual art and graphic design. My need for intellectual stimulation is mostly found in reading books I had never found interesting before like the dusty 70s spy novels my dad has sitting around. And my comfort is found in the Zoom and FaceTime interactions I have with classmates, with my closest friends and every once in a while, the old team of talented reporters and editors I have become so involved and invested in over the past year. It’s them I probably miss the most.
Olivia Ali — Editor-in-Chief
If you would’ve told me a year ago I’d start my first year as Editor-in-Chief with a building explosion and ended it with a global pandemic, I wouldn’t believe you. However, that has become my life and that’s where we stand.
Currently, I’m writing this from my hometown of Elk Grove, California in my mom’s home office. Adjusting to life at home again isn’t easy. I haven’t lived here for more than a couple weeks in over two years. I do have to be thankful for the Sacramento Valley’s beautiful weather, though, as it was almost already hitting 80 while Reno had hardly reached 50 when I first got here. My family has been accommodating and honestly, I haven’t been this well fed since high school. Mom’s home cooked meals just hit different.
But that’s not to say I don’t miss Reno. I miss Monday nights in the Sagebrush office. I miss Archie’s grilled cheese. I miss the simple pleasures of walking across campus and running into someone I haven’t seen in a while. Campus is so beautiful this time of year, and I’d do anything to sprawl out on the quad right now. So many fun events in Reno would have been coming up, and I’m so sad that myself and others can’t partake in them this year.
As for leading a staff through a global pandemic, it hasn’t been easy but it could have been much worse. I have to take this time to thank my staff. We’ve still been producing content and covering news around the campus to keep everyone informed. When Argenta Hall exploded last July, I told everyone that this year would be an “all hands on deck operation.” That sentiment has stood throughout until this very moment. Whether it was a building explosion, protests, a presidential resignation, elections and now a global pandemic, a newspaper is only as good as the staff behind it.
These circumstances are less than ideal. I would do anything for life to go back to normal. However, I’m controlling what I can and making the best out of the situation at hand. I have my health, my loved ones are safe and I’m still able to get my education and do the work I love.