FI members in the Times of COVID-19 [learning edition]


  • Cihan: I have learned that it’s difficult to make space for writing at home, but that it’s doable with the help of supportive friends and colleagues. I still miss my spot and my shelf full of library books in the research study room at the 42nd Street NYPL. 


  • Lauren: During this season, I have learned there is a time for everything and that tomorrow is not promised to anyone. You can be here today and literally gone tomorrow and what you do today matters more than ever. With obscene amounts of people getting sick and dying at the rates that they are in the midst of this pandemic, it’s sobering to think about the time and energy that may have been taken for granted when we once had glimpses of normalcy, which have now faded quickly in the last couple of months. I think it’s time more than ever to figure out what our purpose in life is and for us to do our very best to communicate this gift to the world, and make our presence known sooner than later. When the next season begins, will you be ready? I sure hope to be and as long as I keep my lord and savior first in everything I do I will be. I want to share the Chapter 3; 1-10 of the Ecclesiastes, A time for everything.


  • Katina: I’ve learned that time moves in strange ways when our usual frameworks fall away; that generosity and care take many forms; that quiet streets make it easier to hear sirens—but also birdsong.


  • Kashema: The art of taking it one day at a time. Bad news was incessant, however, being able to wake up healthy every morning allowed for me to think of the next. Some days were really hard and heartbreaking and I allowed myself to be in different states of being because I know this temporary.


  • Adashima: As much as I think that I am, I have learned that I am really not in control. I wish I could say that feeling is okay and blah, blah, blah. But, I don’t like the feeling of not having control and I’m sooooooo tired of meetings in Zoom, FaceTime calls, chats in WhatsApp, or hanging out in Google. I’m over all of the virtual connections. It feels synthetic. The upside of this situation is it forced me to be comfortable with limited control and the unknown. I have to keep pushing forward. It is what it is.  


  • Siqi: I have finally found the beauty in routines and repetition and learned to “embrace boredom.” Getting up at the same hour, 10 min morning yoga, breakfast with “The Daily” podcast, virtual cafe with friends from 10am to 6pm with a lunch break, exercise, dinner, 20 min meditation before bed. In a world full of uncertainty, I feel insanely grateful for the stability I get to ground myself in, with the (virtual) company of the loved ones. 


  • Michael: With everything closed, I’ve realized just how much I miss in-person, collaborative spaces for work. And yet in turn I’ve also learned that programs like Zoom offer surpassing opportunities to connect with colleagues, friends and family, especially those who are far away. I look forward to being able to have both these options in the future.


  • Christina: I have learned that when I have less time, I’m better at using it. And I can, after all, cook potatoes properly, something the kitchen staff would never let me do when I worked in Ireland as a sous chef.


The Futures Initiative
The Graduate Center, CUNY
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