Staying on campus to avoid an uncomfortable family situation

Kay-Ann Henry

Staying on campus to avoid an uncomfortable family situation

My name is Kay-Ann Henry and I am a rising junior majoring in journalism and minoring in creative writing and sociology. I am originally from Kingston, Jamaica but now reside in Miami, Florida.

After spring break, one of my biggest concerns was making the decision whether to stay on campus or go home to my dad and stepmother in Miramar.

Though university communications were telling us that the safest place to be was at home, I wasn’t so convinced. Being on campus has always been a safe haven for me, and after recently being forced to come out to my family (which didn’t elicit the greatest response), I decided that I would really be happier and emotionally safer in my little dorm at the University Village.

Going home would mean talking with my family about my sexuality and identity and constant gaslighting which is not what I need to deal with during a pandemic. The support system I have on campus has really been there for me during this time. Whether it’s my poetry professor texting me to see how I’m holding up or the folks at the LGBTQ+ center emailing me about any resources I might need or social workers in the dean’s office offering further support for the coming months, I feel emotionally and mentally prepared to face this pandemic and my online classes.

I definitely need to start preparing even more because I am running out of groceries and toiletries! But things like hand soap and toilet paper are hard to come by right now; everything in the nearest Publix is either missing or overpriced. It’s a little disheartening seeing the individualistic and capitalistic tendencies that America has ruining preparation and survival methods for people who need it. Buying in bulk for things that you know your other fellow citizens need is selfish. Racking up the price of food and toiletries is violence.

I can’t help but think about how I would fare during this pandemic living in my home country or anywhere else. I don’t feel supported by the government and I don’t feel optimistic about their reactionary efforts. I don’t know what will happen, but I will continue social distancing and letting the jokes on Twitter soothe my quarantined soul.

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