Blogs from a quarantined college student: Week ten

Maddy Harrison

Monday, May 18th, 2020
Ten weeks already?
Wow, this is week ten of my quarantine blogs. That is just mind-boggling. To think that I have been sharing part of my life with the internet for that long… holy moly guacamole. Am I the only one that’s a little blown away by that?
I guess we can’t necessarily call this a time of quarantine anymore, considering the world is starting to reopen. It’s exciting, right? Still, remember the one main theme I have carried with me throughout all of these blogs: stay at home! COVID-19 is not over yet, and staying home is the best thing we can all do!
All of the social distancing has made life a little dreary, but we’ve been able to see my extended family here and there. I think we’re going to try to do something nice for Memorial Day. Whatever it is, I’ll appreciate the opportunity to see my family, even at a distance.
Honestly, I never expected to be writing these for so long. I figured I’d write these for about a month and life would resume back to normal. That has certainly not been the case. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing. I’ve received so much positive reinforcement on this project and it makes me feel more confident as a writer. 
I feel so lucky to be able to do something like this.
-Maddy
 
Tuesday, May 19th, 2020
Oh yeah, semi-finals!
I wanted to focus mostly on the Ten Week Benchmark yesterday, so I completely forgot to mention that my pitch group made the semi-finals! We all totally freaked out. Out of 45 teams that pitched their initial ideas, only 23 were selected. It feels so good to be a part of that number!
Semi-finals means this week is about to get really crazy. We have to expand on our idea a lot more than we already have by talking to our communities about our idea. The group decided that we were going to send out a survey and reach out to local businesses in our area.
And reach out we did! The decision isn’t until Thursday, but we already have 200 responses on our survey and multiple local markets have agreed to back us on the project! The group is feeling really good about pitching again. I think the support from our communities has given us the feeling that we can actually win this thing.
There’s a quick turn around in order to pitch again, but I’m ready to work hard in order to win. I really want to make a difference here.
I hope everyone reading is rooting for me, too!
-Maddy 😁
 
Wednesday, May 20th, 2020
The great big shelf of board games
Maybe it’s just a thing in my family, but we own a TON of board games. I’m not exaggerating. We own an unhealthy amount of games. They’re all stored on a shelf in our laundry room and I’m positive the shelf is going to collapse from all the weight one of these days.
Today, my little sister and I dived headfirst into the mess of board games. We pulled out ones we never really play anymore, like Guess Who, Battleship, Mastermind, and Operation. We ate lunch and played games all afternoon, which was a lot of fun!
I learned today that I am no match for my sister at Guess Who, but am a total beast at Operation. There are tons of other games up on the shelf that deserve some attention, so I think we might try to play more in the coming weeks.
I mean, we’ve got all the time in the world right now, you know? Why not pull out some old games?
-Maddy
 
Thursday, May 21st, 2020
It’s the semi finals!
Woohoo! It’s pitch day! After three days of working like crazy to make a pitch deck, prototype website, presentation, list of partners, and survey, we’re feeling really good about today.
I’m writing this approximately two hours before we pitch. I’m feeling a little nervous and worried that there will be some random technical glitch, but I know we’ve prepared in every way we can. I’ll come back after we pitch to talk about how I think we did!

I think we did okay! There were a couple hiccups, but the other groups presenting also experienced some. That’s the thing about virtual presentations. Technology is not always secure.
Despite our little bumps, we felt pretty good about all of it. Our idea is really solid and there’s a lot of potential. We had a ton of people interested in getting involved, so I think we have a shot.
We find out who made it at the end of the week, which isn’t super clear. I’ll have to let you know if we advanced!
-Maddy
 
Friday, May 22nd, 2020
One rotten apple…
Have you ever heard the phrase, “one rotten apple ruins the whole bunch?” Basically, that’s what happened today.
I typically wait until the end of the day to write my blogs in order to have a full reflection of my day. Right now, it’s about 10:30 p.m. Nothing super exciting should happen, right? Wrong.
We received the list of the eight finalists. Unfortunately, my team didn’t make it. It’s definitely disappointing to invest so much time and energy into a project just to watch it go down the drain. We had so many people wanting to participate and I feel guilty letting them down, too.
There’s talk within my group about trying to bring our idea to life without the prize money, but there’s a glaring issue: startups are wickedly expensive. There’s no way six of us could do it unless we sacrificed our entire savings.
I don’t know if it was realistic to believe we had a definite shot of advancing, but I feel a little disheartened by it. I know that one of the best things about this internship is the experience, but I really wanted to make it.
Oh well, it is what it is.
-Maddy
 
Saturday, May 23rd, 2020
Sitting poolside with people I love
Despite the dreariness of yesterday, today was a good day. My family hosted a preemptive Memorial Day cookout for my mom’s side of the family.
We’re very fortunate to have had our large extended family stay healthy during this time. Despite the good health in my family, we still took the necessary precautions to ensure everybody stays safe.
We sectioned off one bathroom in our house specifically for my grandma to make sure she didn’t get any germs from anyone else and we hosted the entire event outside. Our pool typically keeps most everyone outside during events, but this time we made a rule to keep everyone out in the fresh air. 
It was a long day, but a good one. I’ve missed my family a lot during this quarantine and it was so great to see them all. 
Memorial Day weekend will allow me to see them more, so I’m really excited.
-Maddy
 
Sunday, May 24th, 2020
Gardens and bouquets
My family and I got our garden started up today. We went to Lowe’s early this morning to get starter plants and then set up the garden this afternoon. It probably wasn’t our best idea to do it in the heat of the day, but it’s done and off of our to-do list!
We typically grow the same things every year: tomatoes, sweet peppers, cucumbers, okra, squash, corn, and green beans. We’ve kept with all of those but also added some new and interesting plants, like purple Cherokee heirloom tomatoes and poblano peppers.
We also are starting an entire pumpkin patch this year! Last summer, my mom and I planted a couple seeds in some of the extra garden room we had. Our thought was that they might not even take, so why not try it? Well, they took off. We grew a ton of pumpkins and the plant took over a huge part of our yard.
Since they were so successful last year, we decided to go bigger and create a whole pumpkin patch that the extended family can pick from, too! It’s exciting.
This evening, my sisters, mom, and I all went over to my grandma’s house to participate in our yearly tradition. Before Memorial Day, all of my aunts come together to create bouquets for those we visit at the cemeteries. It’s become a tradition that my sisters and I adore, so my mom has been letting us join along for a while now.
Since we can’t risk bringing outside sickness into my grandma’s home, we worked in their backyard instead of the dining room. We had to work quickly to beat the rain, but all of the bouquets turned out beautiful. I even played a huge part in one of the heart-shaped pieces.
When we go to the cemeteries tomorrow, I’m planning to take pictures of our flowers and the graves. I feel the need to show you all how much dedication and love we put into Memorial Day.
Happy Sunday, everyone. I hope your Memorial Day is a good one.
💙 Maddy