MONTHLY MEDITATION – Quarantined with a Twenty-Year-Old College Student


As time starts to morph the longer our “Stay at Home” Order is in place, the more I’ve begun to analyze just how dysfunctional my Son and I can be.

OR, should I say, just how challenging living with a twenty-year-old college student really can be.

Granted he’s home on breaks, but that’s just it, a break. During those times I’m working full time, and so is he if it’s a summer or winter break, and our evenings and weekends are our time to hangout, which works out wonderfully.

The present situation is completely different.

I’m sort of laid off, but he has classes, or should I say class work. None of his teachers are using Zoom on a regular basis. He just has assignments to be completed by a certain date.

This leaves plenty of leverage when it comes to creating a schedule for my Son’s days, as I’ve suggested he do. I’m one who can’t stand seeing a day go to waste and want to use this time at home productively.

So for me creating a basic schedule allows me to break up my day and take time to write, work on unfinished house projects and explore other interests, or even just read. A luxury I don’t usually have time for.

In between all of this, I am also dealing with work issues remotely. The office is closed, and we have been laid off, but because we print for medical offices, there is a small production crew rotating their time in the office.

Despite a lot of doctor offices using tele-health, they still have print needs and we need to be there for them.

Granted the work load is nothing like a normal day, but there are still orders coming in via email, as well as new projects and updates to existing ones. Some days are busier than others, but with each passing day I’m getting into a rhythm bouncing between work and home stuff.

To be honest, I get mad at myself if I feel as though I haven’t gotten enough done in a day. Or my day goes off the rails for some stupid reason, like an issue with my emails.

My Son on the other hand doesn’t get out of bed till some time between 10 – 12, and then does school work for one – three hours, after which he’s either gaming, or watching videos on his computer.

He tells me this is a schedule, and he’s got everything under control. I certainly hope so, because he had all A’s the first half of this semester and I sure don’t want this to screw up his GPA, especially after last semester.

I guess to a point he’s right about a schedule though, it’s a college kids schedule. It’s just hard for me to see so much time frittered away, especially when I’ve mentioned taking advantage of this time to do something together, beyond watching a movie after dinner.

After which I go to bed, and he then goes back on his computer and games with friends till 1 or 2 in the morning.

Hence why he’s not getting up any earlier than 10AM.

I’ve asked him if he goes to bed this late at school and he says sometimes, but usually only on weekends.

SOOO, my question to him was “why are you doing it every night now?”

His answer, “Because he can.”

AND, that one is hard to fight.

Which leads me to the dysfunction and challenging part of being home every day, all day, with my twenty-year-old college student.

Don’t get me wrong. I love having him home, and I was freaking out till I got him home, BUT these days are rubbing salt into the wound of how very different we are when it comes to how we use our free time.

Granted, I’m fifty-nine and have been working since I was sixteen, so any time I’m not at work I cherish and look at it as a gift to be used wisely.

My Son on the other hand has only been working Summers since he got his license at eighteen, so he does not completely grasped the concept of how valuable free time really is.

He appreciates his breaks from school, especially now that he’s in college, but during this time of quarantine, he’s missing the point that this time could be spent doing family things which we don’t usually have time for, or tackling some of the house projects him and I discussed for Summer break.

Like cleaning up the basement so it can be turned into his gaming room. This project would completely benefit him, but he still doesn’t seem to want to budge.

NOW, I do get some of his behavior is his way to escape the pandemic that has the world gripped in fear, but we discuss what’s going on as do he and his friends, so at some point I would think breaking free from the computer would be something he’d consider.

Heck even just taking a walk with me would be a nice thing, and good for him.

One thing’s for sure though, he couldn’t escape some of our Easter traditions like coloring eggs on Good Friday.

AND, he even agreed to bake cookies with me, which of course will benefit him because they are for him after all, I eat a gluten-free diet.

I can only hope that this will start to open the door to exploring more non-gaming, computer related activities. One has to start somewhere.

The irony though is both of our computers are in the loft, so parts of the day we are sitting back to back, engaged in our own worlds. Of course there is some interaction, but in general we’re just doing our own thing.

When we do interact though it’s pleasant. He might tell me something about the class work he’s doing, or I might be picking his brain about some internet/blogging technical thing, like SEO or keywords, as a generation x’er that’s more his territory than mine.

As I write this I’m realizing though that this alone could be the beginning of a shift in our daily dynamics. It’s a mutual respect thing and a willingness to appreciate each other for who we are.

SO, if this is the case, I can use it to my favor when it comes to expanding our time together.

Our Good Friday adventure of cookie baking and coloring eggs was a huge success, and I even got my Son to take a walk with me on Easter Sunday.

It was a short one, but that’s all I needed. Time with him, one on one, no cell phone in hand, no computer screen or TV, just us walking and chatting. We even stopped to chat with neighbors, socially distance of course.

Next up is to attack the closet in his bedroom.

It’s exploding with stuff, most of which he doesn’t use or have a need to keep. This will take more coaxing than cookies or a walk, but I have faith that once started he will step up.

In addition I’ve also challenged him to take 30 minutes of every day to do something non-electronic. No computer, no gaming and no cell phone which has become another appendage. Even when we’re watching TV he’s looking at stuff on his phone. He seriously needs to unplug.

I’ve addressed this before and he’s completing ignored me, but when I mentioned it now he didn’t completely discard the idea. I’m very hopeful that if I can get him to take 30 minutes of unplugged time daily, with time it will be longer.

Only time will tell if this experiment is successful, but the longer the stay-at-home order is in place and I am laid off, the longer I have to coax my Son into adopting some healthier habits.

AND, use his free time more wisely. Although in his eyes he is.

I believe he will thank me for this one day. Not just because I pushed him to make healthier decisions, but, because WE used OUR time wisely.

Do you have college students quarantined with you? If so how are things going? I’d love to compare notes.

© Mariann E. Danko and Waking the Woman, 2020. All rights reserved.

Goddess Masthead © Pamela Danko-Stout and Waking the Woman, 2020. All rights reserved.

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Images from personal collection

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3 thoughts on “MONTHLY MEDITATION – Quarantined with a Twenty-Year-Old College Student

  1. Mariann, you are not alone in this home with college kids situation. Here I have 2 of them just like yours! The closet is a herculean feat by the way. I’m giving you a standing ovation for that accomplishment! 🙂 Mine as the same as yours – gaming and on their own schedules (except for dinner which is always spent together as a family). But I feel your frustration! I love the egg dyeing! That was awesome!

    Like

    1. Thanks on the closet. It was set to be a summer project, but I couldn’t stand looking at it every time I went into my Son’s room. He still has a few things to go through, but the closet itself is done. I’m glad to hear your college kids are the same. Dinner is our time to come together too. And then a little TV for a distraction.

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      1. Ours as well with the TV. I try to find interesting movies that they learn something from so that ignites a conversation about life. 🙂 I still have the dreaded closets, but they will come at some point! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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