Leaving Los Angeles

What a difference a month makes.

On Friday February 27t I was in the middle of my last semester of college, living on Sunset Blvd. pretty much as far away from the freezing tundra that’s filled with Pats fans known as Boston. I was back in the city with the greatest basketball team, and actual beaches.

I was interning at Spectrum Networks, home of the Los Angeles Lakers broadcasts, where I even got to walk on a piece of the same basketball court Kobe won two championships on. Somehow I even managed to get a job offer from Spectrum working as a production assistant for a new podcast.

Everything from my perspective was looking up; everything was coming together. My only thought was if things could just stay the same for the rest of my last semester, I should be set up perfectly.

Sure, there was a virus going around the world. But it wasn’t going to affect me, right? I mean, come on, there was only like two reported cases in a faraway city called Irvine. That’s like a two-hour drive away during rush hour.

And yes, other schools across the country were shutting down, but mainly in Seattle or New York where there were many more cases. So everyone at ELA has nothing to worry about.

Then comes Monday March 3rd, Emerson announces that they are shutting down the Boston campus, but says ELA is still going to be open. This caused a major panic in my dorm room, mainly from my roommate Noah, who in general is a worrier, but stuck him in a global pandemic, just complete chaos.

Noah and I had a long conversation about the Boston campus being closed, and I think it really shows the different types of reactions people had to the news. Mainly because Noah and I are very different people so we responded very differently.

He thought it was complete bullshit that Emerson decided to close, however with what the situation in Boston, there really was no other choice. I think he knew that but still wanted to complain.

Commencement was then brought up, and this is something that we have different views on. Now a perfect way to describe Noah, is he’s the guy that looks forward to commencement. I, on the other hand, was not. Now, of course I’m upset that I don’t get an opportunity to see my friends one last time before we all go in our separate ways.

However, we were talking about the actual commencement, you know, the event where you sit in a humid auditorium, wearing a heat-absorbing robe, listen to some random adult talk about how life’s a journey for hours and then Green Day’s Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) plays and then you leave.

Noah said something like it is terrible how his parents won’t get to see him walk across the stage and receive his diploma, and I’m sure other people probably feel the same way. In fact, an online petition was started on Facebook to give the class of 2020 an in-person commencement of some kind. Whether something will happen remains to be seen.

We still held out hope that ELA wouldn’t shut down because of how small the program was. We were all in one building so it didn’t seem like a better living place than what was set up. Also you can’t cancel ELA because we all have internships and Emerson wouldn’t screw people over like that.

This outlook carried me through the week as more and more events got cancelled and people were working remotely. I still kept on going to my internship, where everything stayed the same.

I decided to spend the weekend at my home in beautiful Irvine. I mainly wanted to go home because my friend was hosting a quarantine party for all the people that had to move back home because of school closures. I couldn’t wait to flex on them about how I still got to go sit in a classroom while they had to be stuck in their houses. I was also going to beat my dad in golf. It was going to be a great weekend.

On Friday March 13, usually a lucky day, I got in my car and drove from my internship to my house. I had a great drive home taking the 405 South, usually around the traffic is terrible, but on that day, I just flew down. I mean it was just amazing, there was hardly any traffic, the weather was great, I was able to just blast Seal’s Kiss from a Rose, so it was a perfect drive home.

Pulling into my driveway feeling great, everything changed when I walked into my house and the first thing my mom says to me is, “ELA has just been shut down.”

I wasn’t shocked by the news, as I think of my mind. I think this was expected. But what really pissed me off was that ELA decided to announce this on a Friday afternoon, I mean could you pick a worse time? Who decides that Friday afternoon is the right time to announce a major change like the entire school is going to be shut down? Just the fact that the main campus closed on Monday, who could have made it so much easier on people if you announced sooner.

I know the ELA campus stayed open for the next week to give people time, but here’s why it was a bad decision to announce the closing on a Friday afternoon:

Everyone at ELA has an internship that keeps them busy during the week, so when is the best time for them to figure out their living arrangements and move all their stuff? The weekend of course. Makes sense. However, students were told they needed to be out by Friday March 20th. Isn’t that just ridiculously dumb-decision making on ELA’s part? I mean, they needed to give more time for students to be able to make arrangements. They pretty much had that weekend to decide how to go forward.

It wasn’t even like the ELA administration gave a lot of updates about what they were thinking. When the Boston campus closed, all that was said was, “We’re monitoring the situation and will see what happens.”

To make it even worse the quarantine party had to get cancelled because of the Safer at Home order…and my dad beat me in golf.

That was all the least of my worries the next day, because on Monday I went to my internship, where it was announced a majority of the employees were being switched to working remotely. I started to panic a bit because a majority of my work can’t be done remotely, so I thought there was a good chance my internship would just be over. I was also worried that with the shake up my job offer could easily go away.

I decided the best way to avoid being terminated was to just avoid bringing it up to my supervisor. I just continued on working as usually, while dodging my supervisor. It was all going well until I needed to print something. Unbeknownst to me the printer wasn’t working, so there I am waiting for the printer when I see my supervisor walking toward me. I debated grabbing a random paper and walking off, but I finally decided to just finally face the music.

I prepared myself mentally to be canned, as I said hello. One of the first things she said to me was be ready to work remotely by tomorrow. A weight is lifted off my shoulders as I finally got some good news. I breezed through the rest of my day, said goodbye to some of my coworkers, and left Spectrum knowing I still get to be the intern.

When I got back to ELA, I packed up all my stuff, said goodbye to my roommates and drove home.

Now I have been stuck in my house for the last few weeks with only my parents and pets. And I can confidently say if you would have asked me at the beginning of the semester who my only drinking buddies were going to be at the end of the semester, Mike and Jesse Ellison would not have been my answer.

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