How the Pandemic Taught Me Not to Have Plans

By Josh Madrid, Intern

In the wake of the COVID-19 era, there’s been a few unexpected changes for me — a few for the better and others more complicated — that have shaped my recent experiences. I left my apartment in Davis unexpectedly in May, which I’d grown to love after living there for only three months, making it my least favorite endeavor over the past few months.

I saw my uprooting as an opportunity to catch up with my family whom I haven’t seen in months, and further, as an excuse to take a long road trip. I packed all my belongings and the perfect mattress in a rental van and headed for the coast.

UC Davis Arboretum
UC Davis Arboretum

I started in San Francisco, making sure to get a box of my favorite pizza from Sandrino’s in Sausalito and drove down the Pacific Coast Highway — to eventually ride into the smoggy, rambunctious basin.

I stayed in Carmel, Morro Bay and Santa Barbara along the long way home. Leading up to my first day at The Hoffman Agency, I lounged on the beach and resettled into my home life with my family. I had the chance to evaluate the career path I’d previously laid out in my studies and work.

Public relations (PR) was always my goal in school because stories fascinate me – especially ones about people and things that can influence perception and imagination. I believe words, chosen carefully, set in motion the intangible that comes to mind when someone thinks of an organization or an individual. PR helps set norms and persuade industry leaders to move in one direction over another.

Carmel Beach
Carmel Beach



I must admit I’m glad there’s a lack of change in my career path and that my adjustment to working in these times is solely logistical — change, yes, but a chance to prove my resilience.

I’m fortunate enough to have all the tools necessary to work from home comfortably. I have reliable internet and the whole den in our house, now workspace, to myself for the entire day, which many don’t have access to and that COVID-19 has highlighted many-fold — the vast digital inequality in the U.S.

While I don’t use a Zoom background, I’m tempted to position myself in front of the giant Robin Williams painting that sits just outside of my camera frame each day.

Apart from work, I’ve gotten creative with entertaining myself, ironically trying to stay away from as many people as possible at the same time. I took the opportunity to start running again — reliving my high cross-country days — to work on my quarantine 15. Exploring more of the hiking trails near me and working out outside is something I wouldn’t have to come to enjoy had the past months not happened.

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