What Grinds Our Gears: I need more respect from my intrusive family

I’m happy to schedule you in for a Zoom call outside of my regular study hours

This social distancing isn’t distant enough! Illustration: Sabrina Kedzior/The Peak

By: Alex Masse, SFU Student

I have a very specific study ritual, one that works with my painfully neurodivergent brain: I move all my distractions, set up my phone to play 30 minutes of rain noises, and essentially hyperfocus. It’s been lifesaving for university. I don’t know why, but this specific setting just gets me into the zone. I feel alive and in control, which is fairly uncommon considering I’m a university student. 

One problem: other people continue to exist within earshot of me. 

My neighbours aren’t too bad, being quiet senior citizens. The problem, unfortunately, is that I live with a couple extroverts. While I’m trying to study, my dad will be downstairs blaring workout tunes that shake the house. Right next door, my sister will be loudly chatting with her boyfriend to keep isolation at bay. On the bright side, my mother is often inoffensively watching old CW shows — thanks, Mom. 

Sometimes they’ll even burst into my room unprompted. I put a “knock first” sign on my door, but cabin fever gives one blinders to those kinds of things. I could cover my door in caution tape and it wouldn’t mean anything to my family. 

The only thing that seems to sometimes work is sharing my daily agenda with everyone. I’m about two steps from making that thing required reading if it means getting through a Zoom call uninterrupted.