Fun Exploration Beyond My Comfort Zone

Angie Wang, SBWILL_ILS Student

For the first three months of shelter-in-place, I was so scared in the beginning because of the Coronavirus, and didn’t want to join the virtual day program classes because of not being confident enough to navigate the Zoom features.

I only wanted to attend my ILS (Independent Living Skills) sessions. During ILS, I got to read and draw with my trainer, Miss Emily. Miss Emily chose some news articles regarding COVID for me to read and helped me know how to avoid the virus and protect myself properly. In addition, I also learned a lot about the presidential election. I really enjoy reading with her. The more I learned, the more I wanted to get. I thus started to read a newspaper in Chinese every morning and watched TV news in the evening with my dad and aunt. I feel it’s very interesting to follow up with the up-to-date news. Reading gives me knowledge and confidence.

Drawing has been my most favorite. I like drawing very much. It reduces stress and pressure from COVID. Miss Emily taught me how to sketch instead of coloring that I used to do. It has given me a lot of fun. I have improved since the beginning. I wish I could have drawing class every day!

In mid-June, I went back to work at TJMaxx. I was a little scared in the beginning due to the coronavirus. However, I learned from watching the news and reading news articles about the virus that it is safe as long as I am wearing a face mask and have gloves on, and stay six feet away from my coworkers while in the back room working. When I experienced my first working day, I felt a lot better knowing there are janitors who clean up the break room and bathrooms often and hand sanitizer is provided for us.  I was especially glad Ms.  Darlynn was around and watching over us all the time there.

After the first six months, I became more willing to attend W.I.L.L. (Work, Integration, Living, Learning) Day Program classes because I started slowly getting the hang of using the Zoom features and learned how to turn my mic and camera on and off throughout my ILS classes. I ended up liking the classes, and the teachers made it fun for me to learn. My friends are always happy to see me and asked me to join more often. I felt more confident attending the virtual classes and have become friends with others I don’t interact with much at the center.

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My favorite classes have been Travel Club and COVID Class. I enjoy traveling to different countries, but due to the virus, I am unable to travel and the Travel Club allows me to travel to many places virtually. The COVID Class has taught me how to stay safe from the virus which eased my anxiety. Through this class, I got to play games and quizzes to learn more about the virus, which has been fun.

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