Cover Image - The Coronavirus Pandemic: Samantha's Neurodiverse Journey

The Coronavirus Pandemic: Samantha’s Adaptation to Change

The Pandemic: Samantha’s Story:

About the Author:

Image of Samantha in a White Dress in Front of Old Houses

My name is Samantha Burkett and I’m twenty-one years old. I’m from Lake Wylie, South Carolina, which is a small town about forty minutes outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m currently a senior at the College of Charleston, majoring in Communications and minoring in International Studies. I’ve been interning at Different Brains for a few months now and throughout this time, I’ve learned so much about neurodiversity and met some amazing people. I’m excited for my future with Different Brains and the opportunities that come with!

Life Before The Pandemic:

Q: Describe your everyday life before the pandemic hit. Include social aspects such as school, work, extracurricular activities, and so on.

A: My everyday life before the coronavirus pandemic was pretty set in stone. I was living in Charleston, SC where I go to school and was doing the same routine every day. I would wake up each morning and head to class. In-between classes, I was catching up on homework, and after class, I was hanging out with my friends or exploring Charleston.

Reacting to the Coronavirus:

Q: How did you initially react to COVID-19 and the social distancing?

 A: When I first heard about COVID-19 and the social distancing I was honestly extremely nervous and confused. I was in the process of going on spring break with my friends so I was so overwhelmed with what was happening, trying to decide if we should still go on our trip, and right around that time was when my university was discussing being online for the remainder of the semester. Overall, I remember that time being extremely confusing for me.

Life Changes & Adaptations:

Q: How has your life and schedule changed as a result of the coronavirus?

 A: As a result of the coronavirus, my life and schedule changed drastically. I came home for the remainder of the semester and all my classes were moved online. Because of lock down, my whole family was constantly home and we all felt a little cooped up. It has been nice to spend so much time with my family, but it was just a little different from what I thought the rest of my junior year in college would be like. Although it was nice spending time with my family, I felt some anxiety from the drastic changes happening. Not having a set schedule everyday was quite tough and made it difficult being home and doing online classes.

Q: What have you had to do in order to adapt to these rather unusual circumstances?

 A: In order to adapt to these circumstances I tried to remain in routine. Without this routine I noticed I was lacking in sleep leaving me very overwhelmed and anxious. Every day, I have been trying to wake up relatively early in order to start my schoolwork and finish before 12. After my schoolwork, I will usually workout or go on a run just so I can have sometime outside. Towards the end of the day, I’ll hang out with my family or watch a movie. I feel like having a schedule helps keep everything in order and helps a lot with keeping a good sleep schedule.

Coping With the Coronavirus:

Q: What coping mechanisms are you using to deal with these strange times?

A: In order to deal with these strange times, I’ve really tried to stay in contact with my friends. Whether from school, or home, I’m constantly FaceTiming or on Zoom calls with my friends, which helps a lot with my staying sane. Being able to talk to my friends and see their faces (via phone screen) every day is really nice.

Life Lessons & Advice:

Q: What have you learned about yourself and the world around you from these circumstances?

 A: What I have come to learn about myself and the world around me is that patience can go a long way. I’ve learned that during this time, patience is key, and even though it has been hard, we have to focus on the now and be patient with the future because better days will come. This has been such a scary and confusing time for everyone around the world, and I’ve took notice to how patient everyone is being as that is all we can do in times like these.

Q: What advice would you give to someone dealing with the coronavirus?

 A: Some advice I would give to anyone going through the same things as myself (which seems to be the world), is to just stay positive. Although we are all dealing with something so strange and scary, we will all get through this together. Our world will come out stronger than before and we will persevere. It seems as if things are slowly getting back to normal in this world, so all we can do now is trust the process and stay as positive as possible.

Story by: Samantha

Interviewed by: Julia Futo

Interviewed on: June 12th, 2020



Author Image

Julia Futo was born on August 5th, 1999, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She faced difficulties early on in life with trying to perform everyday tasks. Before she was five years old, she was diagnosed with two learning disabilities: Encephalopathy and developmental coordination disorder (DCD). She struggled in school for a long time, but that changed when she took journalism in high school and learned how to become an advocate. She is currently in college and hopes to help others find their voices.