I would much rather be writing this sitting at my desk in my Clairmont apartment, attending my classes at 2:30 p.m., instead of groggily paying attention at 12:15 a.m. Nevertheless, like most Emory students, I’ve had to adjust to online learning. Unlike most Emory students my home is a ten-hour time difference from campus, with my last class ending at 1:15 a.m. It’s safe to say it’s going to take me some time to get used to my environment.

Living almost 10 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time in Nepal, I initially struggled to balance eating and sleeping with my class schedule, and I had no structure to  my day. I decided to adapt my Emory schedule to my home schedule to stay organized and motivated, but I knew it wouldn’t be easy. As an international student, I have classes at odd hours. My day was definitely not going to look the same. 

But, I thought, why not give it a go? Despite my last class ending at 1:30 a.m., I could still maintain some of the work habits I enjoyed at Emory. As a one-day experiment from home, here’s what my (atypical) Monday and Wednesday Emory schedule, replicated, looks like from the other side of the globe. 

10:20 a.m. I had set an alarm for 10 a.m. as I would on a normal Wednesday at Emory for an 11:30 a.m. class. And, like any normal day, I woke up groggily and set a timer for another 20 minutes and went right back to sleep, finally waking up at 10:20 a.m.

11 a.m. I attempted breakfast 16 hours after the previous night’s dinner, the same routine I had at Emory. I ate yogurt with cereal and peanut butter with toast for breakfast. I wanted to make oats, my typical school breakfast, but it was too early, and I wasn’t in the mood to locate cooking utensils in an unfamiliar kitchen. 

11:30 a.m. This is when I would usually have Marketing and Consulting Practicum (MKT 442). But in Nepal, I don’t have class until 9:15 p.m. To recreate a typical Emory day, however, I did study for my marketing class during this time from “Agrawal Classroom A,” aka my room. 

1 p.m. As with the 11:30 a.m. class, I pretended to have another class and tried to stay busy for my entire 1 p.m. Strategic Management (OAM 331) class. Admittedly though, I ended up scrolling through Instagram and fidgeting. Knowing I didn’t really have class at this time threw me off focus.

1:45 p.m. While I was technically supposed to be “in class,” I was hungry. So like a typical school day, I made myself chickpea pancakes, finally stepping up and cooking in a new kitchen. 

2:20 p.m. Feeling guilty about skipping class, I studied a little more after lunch.

Urvi Agrawal (21B) whipped up a dalgona coffee to replace her usual Starbucks drink./Courtesy of Urvi Agrawal

2:50 p.m. Usually, after classes I buy Starbucks’s famous “Pink Drink.” But alas, with no Starbucks and without acai or strawberries, I couldn’t even try to waste my Dooley Dollars or recreate the drink myself. Instead, I resorted to the currently trendy dalgona coffee, which contains milk topped with whipped coffee and sugar. Whipping the coffee was a pain, but when topped on coconut milk, the drink was an indulgence. Starbucks has got nothing on my dalgona coffee. 

4 p.m. My roommates were usually home around this time, and we would play  card games. But without my girls around me, I had to resort to online games with my friends. We played a friendly online version of the board game Ludo. 

5 p.m. I usually exercised around 11 p.m. with friends at the Student Activity and Academic Center. But with late classes, that habit obviously could not continue. Instead, my sister and I followed a YouTube workout video for 20 minutes in the living room.

7:15 p.m. At this time I’d usually make dinner, but my mom was making noodles for everyone so I couldn’t say no to that. I considered this my Dooley Dollars meal.  

8 p.m. Again, I couldn’t hang out with my friends, so instead, I played the physical version of Ludo (obviously, I’ve been really obsessed) with my grandparents. It was definitely not the same as hanging out with friends, but I appreciated quality time with my family.

8:45 p.m. I came back to my room and made my way to my chair for a meeting with my project group and my professor. It was definitely different from the good old Goizueta Business School days. Zoom University doesn’t make the cut. After my meeting, it was just one class after the other. 

2 a.m. I finally finished all my classes. The day was quite long, but this is just a part of being time zones away. I watched some bedtime Netflix, the cherry that topped off my day.

Attempting to recreate a university day at home is taxing and particularly inconvenient. Living in a different time zone means I often have to skip class projects or club meetings that occur very late at night. Or I’ll have to sacrifice sleep in order to make it to some of these meetings. On the bright side, most of my day is free time, which isn’t all bad.

I do really miss the advantages of living on a big campus teeming with life and greenery, traveling from one part of campus to another, seeing people I know along the way and just being around friends. With a country on lockdown, I can barely walk the amount I used to at Emory. Back in school, I easily walked 10,000 to 15,000 steps a day. At home, walking even 2,000 steps is a miracle.

In attempting to replicate a typical Emory day, I realized keeping a schedule can help maintain a healthy work-life balance during these rough, confusing times. But given the circumstances, I cut myself some slack when I wasn’t always on top of things. You should too.