Pandemic Profs: Hanging with Nonna

My Nonna and Me

Welcome to our series to give you a glimpse into Rowan University, our campus culture, and the lives of our students, while we’re practicing social distancing to protect society from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s story is from Maria Mancini, a graduating senior isolating from her house in Gloucester County, NJ. Maria is a Public Relations major. 

Since COVID-19 hit and we all were instructed to stay home and to only go out when necessary, I have been stuck at home with my family for what feels like forever. 

When I was 9 years old, I moved into my grandparents house with my mom, two older sisters and younger brother. At that time, nine-year-old Maria wasn’t too happy about my parents getting a divorce and having to move in with my grandparents; but 15 years later, I can honestly say it was the best thing that has ever happened to me.Maria Mancini and her Nonna at their Glassboro home

I was able to create an incredibly special bond with my grandparents. Being able to have family dinners every night with my grandparents and watching TV with them after dinner and just hanging out with them every day was extremely special to me. When I was younger, I idolized my Pop and I wanted to do everything for him or help him out in any way. Unfortunately, my Pop passed away in 2012, and I don’t get to spend this quarantine with him. But I do get to spend it with my Nonna.

After my Pop passed away I realized that time on Earth should be cherished and I do just that —and what better time to do so than in quarantine! So during this quarantine I have been hanging out with my Nonna. 

Maria wraps her arms around Nonna outside their home.My Nonna is a caretaker. She was a stay-at-home mom and raised her kids while taking care of the house and catered to her husband. She ran a traditional Italian household. I learned how to cook, how to clean and how to be the best person I can be through my Nonna. 

During this quarantine, I asked my Nonna for some advice. I told her that I was feeling super anxious about school and managing my work and also about the uncertainty about graduation and my final grades. Here is what she told me:

“There is no need to be anxious. Instead of looking at everything you need to do to finish, look at everything you accomplished already. Focus on appreciating all that you have to be grateful for. 

“As for school, you also need to stay organized. Keep a list of everything you need to finish before graduation and put it in the order that it is due. Lists are a great way to keep your mind organized and less anxious. I also think you need to make a schedule and stick to it. Set aside hours in the day for school work with breaks in the middle to enjoy something you like. Watch a movie, meditate, pray or cook on your breaks. Use your creativity to ease your anxieties. You are going to make it through this semester. Just take it one day at a time.”

I am beyond grateful that I get to spend this quarantine with my Nonna. I know that time on Earth is limited and I am soaking up all her advice, stories, and sayings while I can. This quarantine is a great way to reconnect or build a stronger bond with those you live with. Don’t think of it as being stuck in the house, think of it as an opportunity. 

Like what you see?


Story by:
Maria Mancini, senior public relations major