A New Normal by Emily LaRocque

April 9th-April 19th

The Adam-LaRocque Family celebrating my birthday
April 8th 2020

April 9th, usually a day surrounded by friends, families, and many other loved ones. Ever since I could remember, I have spent my birthday with my relatives in Nashville. Since I’m stuck in Chattanooga, I decided to get my family on Zoom, as a present to myself. The Adam-LaRocque family showed up and it was like we were all in the same room together. Uncle Mike, cracking jokes, my 4-year-old cousin Porter showing off his latest Batman gear, Grandma and Poppop asking if I need any money, my cousin Hailey practicing her TikTok dances, and my parents and my sister demanding that I come home soon.

    As I sit here writing this journal, tears escape my eyes. I miss the banter between my sister and I, I miss the corny knock-knock jokes my Poppop would tell me and the fake scratch off lottery tickets he would hand me, and the boy advice from my aunts Robin and Jan; but I can’t dawn on the sadness any longer. Here in Chattanooga, I am grateful to have my roommates, my best friend since freshman year of high school, and my brand-new friends Alyssa and Amanda Morgan. The five of them have made me feel so special and loved on my birthday. The ones that could make it to my so called “party” took photos with me, while we listened to old records and drank cheap wine. They have become my Chattanooga family.

Emily listens to her original copy of Grease, one of her very first records
April 9th 2020

    As much as I want to be back in Nashville with my blood relatives, this pandemic has given me a family just as strong here in Chattanooga, and there no denying that. And if you have any record suggestions let me know.

April 2nd-April 8th

April 4th 2020
TVA & Racoon Mountain

Backroads and good music make for a movie moment during a time of uncertainty. My roommates and I had the bright idea to take a walk on Racoon Mountain and enjoy the sunset this past Friday. As this is one of our favorite places in Chattanooga, we always try to go when the weather is so nice. We love everything about Racoon Mountain, the drive there and back, the view, and of course endless number of photos you can take while you’re up there.

    When we got to the top of the drive, to enter Racoon Mountain, it was gated off and posted up with signs saying “Do Not Enter”. We tried to not let it get to us, but to say we weren’t saddened by the mountain being closed would be a lie. We took the loss and decided to explore a side of the mountain we have never seen. It worked out in our favor as we came across the TVA reservoir. As soon as we pulled up, we saw a beat-up old truck and a man with his guitar.

April 4th 2020
Man with Guitar and Red Truck

    My friends and I followed the 6 feet apart rule and let the man be while he sang to the mountains, but I couldn’t help but photograph him and his truck. It was like a scene hand picked out of a movie montage. I could tell this was something the man did to help cope with everything going on in the world, or maybe it was just his way of finding peace with his craft. Regardless, his music felt good for the soul and whether he knew it or not his music made me calm in this time of worry.


March 24-April 1st

March 26th 2020
Northshore Village tenants passing the time

Coronavirus but make it summer camp and 6 feet apart. The weather is in the high 80s and everyone has been ordered to stay inside and practice social distance. But just like every other antsy college kid, I couldn’t just let this beautiful weather pass me by; So, I grabbed 5 of my closest friends and decided to play some volleyball and grill out. The day consisted of making jokes, meeting new friends, and creating lasting memories during this world pandemic. The past few days have had me feeling like I am living in a sweet summer dream with a nostalgic playlist to go along with it.

    To quote High School Musical, “Do you remember in kindergarten how you’d meet a kid and know nothing about them, then 10 seconds later you’re playing like you’re best friends, because you didn’t have to be anything but yourself?”. Well the past week has felt exactly like that. Going outside during this time of quarantine has given me the opportunity to meet my neighbors, learn that half the Chattanooga Football Club live in my apartment complex, and much more. To top it all off, I met the most beautiful dog while wandering around my apartment complex. His name is Mako, and he is probably the most handsome husky I have ever met. The owner, Nathan Hawkins, a Chattanooga State student, told me about how he saved Mako from an abusive owner and that ever since that day, he hasn’t looked back. 

March 26th 2020
Mako and owner Nathan Hawkins

Many people see COVID-19 only as a negative impact on the world; while I agree, I do have to give thanks where it is due. Without this global virus, I would probably still be a homebody, I wouldn’t have realized how much I love smore’s, or met some pretty cool soccer players. It sounds strange to say that a deathly disease would have such a positive impact on my life, but like I said earlier, I am so thankful that it has.


Monday, March 23, 2020

Jenna makes sure you get your squats, cardio and stretching in.  I usually follow every single one of her workouts at the gym, but today my living room became my work out space. 

Here is a look at how my roommates and I did by following along with her YouTube video. We struggled at first, but eventually got the hang of it.

Each of us has our own limitations as well. We plan on working out from home, going on walks and eating healthy every day, just like Jenna! These workouts aren’t just great ways to stay fit, they’re an awesome way to have fun. Follow along with her on her Instagram and YouTube @msjennawillis.

Being stuck in quarantine can make you feel a bit stir crazy at times. Gyms, classes, and recreations are all shut down due to the current situation around the world. Many professional trainers, programs, and others are flocking to YouTube and Instagram to provide at home workout routines. Jenna Willis, a personal trainer for the stars, is my favorite instructor to follow. She provides ab challenges, toning workouts for brides to be, and much more!

Meet the Storyteller

Emily LaRocque

Emily LaRocque is a senior studying communication at The University of Tennessee Chattanooga; she hopes to use her degree to become an Event Planner. She likes creating lasting memories for people while building a strong community. As a natural born planner, she has planned vacations, weddings, concerts, and much more. On her off days, you can find her drinking a hot cup of coffee listening to her favorite albums on vinyl. Contact her at ddz632@mocs.utc.edu.

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