Meditation Helps Student to Adapt

As a sixth-year graduate student, PhD candidate Alex Hofmann says that his “day-to-day schedule has not changed much at all” in his one-bedroom apartment in Hyde Park, Chicago. “I sit, I read, I write. And yet, the entire context of that has shifted,” he adds. Alex used to work from coffee shops to both explore the city and provide variety from the isolating experience of grad school which is “obviously, no longer an option.” To cope, he has revived his practice of meditation. A structured schedule and daily, early-morning runs also help him to “maintain my sanity and regulate my emotions. “The pandemic has completely recalibrated the scale of human emotion and wellbeing,” Alex says. “We should all acknowledge that nobody is doing ‘well’ in the normal sense, so I say I’m doing as well as one can hope within that context, for which I’m grateful.” Like many others, Alex has been getting “more creative with cooking” by learning how to bake bread, given the difficulties of acquiring certain groceries. He is “very concerned about the ethical implications of using grocery delivery services during this pandemic,” and tries to keep his impact minimal by going two weeks between deliveries. Alex is also reading more fiction than he used to. “Fiction has been a great way to transcend everything,” Alex adds. “I have found my productivity and motivation plummeting. It is hard to find the will to work when you don’t know if you, your friends, or your family will still be here when that work is finished,” Alex says. “I suppose the only thing that has remained constant – grown stronger, ever – would be my connections to my friends and loved ones.”

By Anne Wallentine


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