I was volunteering as a tax return preparer on February 1, 2020 when a regular customer approached me with his cell phone in his hand and said, “This is why you and I have been coughing since I have been here”. On his phone was a news story about the spread of COVID. I immediately thought, yeah, that’s what I keep reading about in the Wall Street Journal and on www.bloomberg.com. Over the next few weeks, there was non-stop talk about COVID at my job amongst co-workers. Then on March 16, 2020, my employer sent an email notifying all employees to work at home until further notice.
Working at home was no problem because my employer has allowed and provided employees the means to work at home since the early 1990s. I did not detest being required to work at home indefinitely because I work four ten-hour days, starting at 6:00 a.m., and rarely left the office before putting in another one to three hours most days. The way I began to think about COVID was, I got four to five hours added to my life because I no longer had to spend time getting prepared at night and in the morning to travel to and from work. I decided to put these hours into increased exercise, vocal practice, and online learning.
I have walked five miles a day for years, and in 2017 when I began my professional music journey, I added singing. But when COVID hit, it was like the first week of January for people who exercise every day because people who just wanted to get out of the house flooded the tracks and walking paths. As a person who has exercised regularly, I figured this wouldn’t last long, and it didn’t. When Mike DeWine lifted the “Stay at Home” ban, the “just want to get out the house walkers” went back to the beaches. And ah, I had the trackback to myself, which allowed me to sing as loud as I could to open up and exercise my vocal track.
The only class I was taking when COVID hit was a vocal lesson at Tri-C West. After Tri-C announced the cancelation of in-person classes indefinitely, the vocal coach gave students the option to continue with virtual studies or wait to see how long in-person lessons were on hold. I chose to suspend my vocal lesson because I began a free, online vocal class and had my walking-n-singing exercise. But this was ok because not having to travel to the West Campus back and forth also added two hours to my life.
Today, the biggest effect of COVID on me as a student at Tri-C is, it’s the reason I finally inquired about writing for the Voice; I have more time. The hours I do not have to use getting ready and driving to and from work and classes have allowed me to take advantage of the incredible opportunity to write for The Voice.