Stay-at-Home Diaries | Silvana Gutierrez, Alumna

On Thursday, March, 19, Los Angeles residents were asked to stay in their residences and limit all activities outside of their homes beyond what is necessary for essential tasks. Days later, PCM adapted its lessons and programs and launched a “distance learning” spring quarter.z

For this series, we’re checking in with students, instructors, and staff members to see how they’re managing and how distance learning (and teaching) is working for them.

Woman with head on her hand

PCM: Where are you right now and who are you with?
SG: I am currently at home in Washington, D.C. I live with three housemates (one of whom is a 10-year old black lab named Marley.) 🙂

PCM: How are you feeling and how have you adjusted to life at home?
SG: I’ve made life at home very enjoyable over these last few weeks by pursuing meaningful activities: regular exercise, meditation, extensive reading, participating in virtual family dinners, and spending time with my friends over virtual lunches or movie “watch parties.” I initially struggled with strained eyesight; working from home and completing my graduate studies online means spending the majority of my day on my computer. However, I learned to take frequent breaks and tinker with the brightness, contrast, and color settings on my screens according to how I am feeling each day. These small adjustments have helped me immensely!

PCM: What does a typical day look like for you right now?
SG: I meditate, set goals for the day, have breakfast while responding to emails and reading the news, and then hop right into my workday. This morning ritual has helped to build structure and consistency. After work, I’m usually in class or exercising. I am currently enrolled in an evening MBA program and my classes take place 2-3 times per week from 6:30pm-9:30pm. When I’m not in class, I like to walk a 6 mile loop around my neighborhood after dinner. I read for about a half hour before going to sleep; I’m working my way through a book recently published by one of my professors (“Rethinking Success” by Doug Holladay.)

PCM: How have you engaged with music during this time – are you practicing or watching concerts online?
SG: Music has always been a wonderful part of my life. Given the extra time on my hands, I have devoted a significant portion of it to practicing my violin. It has been a lovely and enriching experience to work through familiar and new pieces. I am spending this month learning songs from films.

PCM: What are you most looking forward to when this is all over? What, if anything, will you miss?
SG: I’m grateful that I attended a magnificent concert at the Kennedy Center three weeks before D.C. issued stay-at-home orders (Akiko Suwanai played the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto). I am most looking forward to experiencing the immense energy and buzz of live events, like this one at the Kennedy Center, and visiting my favorite places in Southern California once again. I think I will miss how reflective we, certainly I and my loved ones, have become during this time. I hope we all carry this renewed sense of reflection and resilience with us moving forward.