Lehigh Student Stories

The Shabbat Calendar

Time is moving so quickly in quarantine, it seems the only divider between one week to the next for me has been Shabbat each Friday; a familiar and warm sense of comfort that is tangible, more tangible than mindlessly cooking meals and doing workouts.

Through lighting candles and chanting the same prayers, normalcy and reassurance returns even for 20 minutes.

Most of our routines currently cease to exist or are altered, but Shabbat remains the same; it is s a reminder to reset, reflect, and recharge our mind, body, and soul.

I challenge you to think about the following:

what is your separator each week? How do you break up your time in minutes, hours, and weeks?… when time is so arbitrary.

Student Blog Post on COVID-19 Thoughts

By: Jordan Wolman, Class of 2021

If you’re like me, you’ve had enough of this.

I’ll be honest, I did pretty good for the first month or so of this new normal. I actually surprised myself and surpassed the low expectations I had for myself. I structured my days, set alarms and got going. That’s not to say I was “productive” in any superficial sense for every minute of every day. But I was making it work.

I learned some new songs on the piano. I read a book for pleasure. I completed a few arts and crafts projects. I cooked a few meals. I did my school work. I did something physically active most days, and outside whenever possible. I played Wii with my siblings and watched House of Cards. My family was eating dinner together every night, looking at each other’s real faces and having real conversations. It was refreshingly different. I’ll even say I was enjoying not feeling constantly crunched for time like I feel at Lehigh, where you can feel guilty for not doing something absolutely terribly meaningful for even a few seconds. 

But I finished my book. 

By that time, my town’s library was closed. The local Barnes and Noble was closed. Amazon would take a month to ship me a new book. I even reached out to Library and Technology Services at Lehigh to see if they would ship students books. They replied and told me they would, but nobody is allowed in the building to retrieve the book to send to me. E-books or audio books don’t do it for me. 

I couldn’t even get a damn book.

I think that sums up pretty well how I’m feeling now — six weeks after Lehigh’s decision to move to remote learning: helpless and out of control.

And for someone who values taking control of my own life and loves to plan, this quarantine is starting to hurt. 

You might be feeling something similar. And, yes, you might be feeling angry. Angry that you were robbed of part of your college experience, your summer vacation, your graduation or your internship. Angry you had to celebrate your 21st birthday not at a bar surrounded by your dancing friends like you always imagined, or angry that a parent lost his or her job. Angry that your plans, big or small, were canceled or ruined. Angry that you, yourself, may have lost a loved one — not a number on an overly-sensitized cable news show, but a real human who you will forever miss. Angry that you’re left grasping for straws, sputtering, begging for answers, arms flailing like a pouting toddler who was just told “no” for the first time. 

If you’re angry like me, you’re angry that there’s nobody to blame. 

And if you’re angry like me, you might blame God. 

And I think that’s OK. Our relationship with God is, in my opinion, just like our relationships with any other human. That’s how it’s supposed to be. We get angry, we talk out our feelings, we hit rough patches and bumps in the road. Relationships aren’t stagnant. Relationships change as life changes. It’s no different with God, and it would be wrong for someone else to tell you how to navigate that relationship or how to feel in that relationship. There is no one right answer and there is no one way to feel at all times. 

And right now, you feel how you feel. And if you are angry, you can recognize that. You can give yourself that permission right now to admit you are angry. 

In your anger, though, it’s also important to recognize all the good in the world, and that a lot of the good will in fact outlive the nightmare we are living in now. 

The good is here to stay. But the bad — this virus — is temporary. 

While we wait out the bad, we might as well do some thinking. We’ve been given an unprecedented opportunity to slow down. When you have this much time on your hands — when you have this much of the most precious resource in the whole wide world — you want to make the most of it. 

I encourage you to better yourself, however you know how. Think about you and your place in this world, and how you can improve that relationship. Right now, and when this thing is finally all said and done, we’ll need to do a lot of healing, together. And if you can repair your relationship with yourself, and your relationship with your world, everything else will follow. 

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