ANDY: When COVID arrived in March, I couldn’t have foreseen how my story would go. The part that many know is that undergrads had to leave quickly and start into a remote semester. But there were also grad students, and I was one of them. We could stay, and I was one of the ones that stayed.
Before COVID, the dorm I used to live in was a vibrant place. Late in the evening, I could meet people in gym. I could chat, waiting in line before coffee hours. And I could greet people in the floors.
But then a couple of weeks into the pandemic, the administration asked us whether we have any other place to stay. And I moved out into a place that had much more space. With four instead of 20 people living there, it was much space indeed. But it also felt so empty.
Only then I was questioning whether I maybe should go to Europe– whether maybe the US was not the right place to be. But there were these stories of children infecting their parents, and I definitely didn’t want that to happen to me. And all the travel between the continents had become so complicated.
And also, I knew I had things to sort out regarding my PhD. Find out what I want to do– what should be my project for the next years. And well, what it would be.
So I stayed. I cooked. I baked. I found an espresso machine. I ordered the kitchen. And three months passed. Summer had come but insights regarding my PhD, not really.
What had changed was that now I had more reason to visit my family. And, well, also that Europe had stabilized to …you could call it pre-normal.
So here I was, Germany! Working in a country that is not my home! Starting work at 3:00 PM until 10:00 PM or midnight or 1:00 AM. I can meet people– I can meet friends. I can visit places.
But this basic indeterminacy– this indecision and this precariousness– or the even very basic question of, where do I live? Where do I work? Where should I be? That’s always present and creeping up. Feeling stuck a bit.