Day in the Life of a Mercersburg Student in Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Chelsea Seaby Bruno ’21 at her home in Saudi Arabia.

In this article, I would like to guide you through my day and explain how I adjusted to the time difference and new circumstances. I live in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (seven hours ahead of EDT). Currently, the country is under a 24-hour curfew. All of these changes have impacted my daily life and learning. Come with me through a day of my life.

I get up around 10 a.m. every day. The wake-up time is due in part to my late classes since I don’t want to be too sleep-deprived by the end of the day. Before getting out of bed, I might listen to some music or do some yoga. To be honest, most of the time I just scroll through my phone, but please ignore that part. 

I come downstairs to eat with my mom in the dining room. We watch the show “Brooklyn 99” together while eating eggs or toast. I like to spend that quality time before I go to work. It still feels weird to be at home with my parents but also to be doing homework alone. Spending time with people around you can really raise your spirits, so make sure to carve out some time for your loved ones.

After breakfast, it’s time to get down to business. Homework. Around 1 p.m., I start working on my assignments, tea in hand. It does feel weird to do my homework midday, but one thing that helps is thinking of each day as a Sunday. For most students, they “delay” starting weekend homework until Sunday, rushing to get it done throughout the day. By thinking it is Sunday, I make a timeline for myself and am guaranteed to finish my assignments by then. 

A lot of the time, I either have extra time before class or just can’t focus. When this happens, I take a break from the screen and try to do something around the house. 

Here are some things you can try at home if you are bored!

  1. Go through random boxes! Finding old things around the house is like a miniature scavenger hunt. I rummaged through old mementos, where I found pictures of my parents when they were newlyweds and old letters from my abuelo [grandfather] to my mom. 
  2. Get moving! Sitting is fun, but not healthy. I’m lucky to have a treadmill in the house, and I can, therefore, get my steps in. I also enjoy dancing around to some cool jams. But for those who want to get healthy and are stuck inside, there are a lot of apps to help out. Ms. Poacelli recommended a great app for yoga called Down Dog. You can customize the duration, the difficulty, the trainer, and even the music. It will make a customized video based on your preferences. I have had a lot of fun with it, and I would recommend that you give it a try.
  3. Try picking up a new hobby! I’m not the best at doing this, but I’m getting better. I recommend looking around the house to find old projects or games you forgot about. I found my old origami book and plan on using it this weekend. Also, look at Veracross and Mercersburg’s SAC Instagram for competitions and fun activities. For any writers, the Haiku competition is a great way to find your creativity again. I found myself having so much fun writing Haikus since it is such an accessible medium and doesn’t make me feel overwhelmed.

Unfortunately, the 24-hour curfew was put in place recently in Saudi Arabia. Before that, walking the dogs was a good way to get some fresh air. Though disappointing, it’s just another thing to get used to. I know that other Mercersburg students are going through this as well, and I hope that we can keep morale high. To be honest, it is starting to get a little too hot in Saudi anyway. A high of 102 degrees Fahrenheit, anyone?

School starts at 5 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m., with an hour break for dinner at 7 pm. The shift has been a little bit of an issue because I begin to get sluggish easily. But sleeping in and drinking lots of tea has helped a bunch.

By 10 p.m., I go back downstairs and hang out with my parents and dogs until bedtime, around midnight. Or later. Who knows? I’m a rebel. 

I miss being at Mercersburg dearly and wish I could be there with my friends. Despite these feelings, I can’t help but look at the positives. During such confusing times, it is a blessing to be with family instead of across the ocean. We are lucky to be safe and able to continue schooling, as weird as that schooling may be at times. 

I hope that this article finds you in good health. Let’s finish this year with loud swelling cheers!