Quarantine looks different for all of us Titans. Some have moved back home with added responsibilities or returned to different states entirely. Our daily routines have been disrupted with losing our extracurriculars, jobs or other commitments. While we’ve been doing this online transition for some time, we do not have the same schedule as before. It is getting increasingly difficult to get up early in the morning when we don’t have class, especially during this stressful semester. We have a variety of coping mechanisms, including working out, meditating, art, friends and more. What is important is realizing this is a time of adjustment and to honor the struggles we are going through.
Some days are simply more productive than others. With more time on our hands, it doesn’t necessarily mean that our load has been lightened. Assignments have changed, and we have had to adapt to a whole new learning style. There are days where you’re able to finish up that essay, but it seems like the most daunting task on another day. Sometimes, getting out of bed to even go to your Zoom lecture is overwhelming, potentially because we do not have our classmates surrounding us to stay awake. Alarms do not have the same meaning as they did when we were on campus, but we are doing the best we can to finish strong. Taking care of ourselves and understanding when we are most productive will alleviate some of the stress associated with the lack of motivation we experience. Not every second of the day should be dedicated to working, so you should engage in those activities you love just as much as you study.
I know a lot of us miss our friends, classmates, professors and even the random person we saw every day in the hallway. Personally, I’ve noticed how important it is to consistently check in with my friends via video call since everyone is going through this differently. Reaching out and connecting with each other a few times a week gives a small sense of normality in this quarantine life, so incorporating that into your schedule is a great step. We may not be able to see each other for some time, but that doesn’t mean our friendships get to go on pause. Our classmates, friends, and professors are here to support us during this stressful time, so engage the extra time you do have to catch up with them.
As much as we hear this quarantine can be productive, online learning is hard. Some of our professors prefer asynchronous instruction and others are engaging in lectures, but it is still difficult to adjust. We chose our classes according to our learning style last semester, so we should give ourselves more credit for being able to adapt to this new method. Motivation is at an all-time low for various reasons, but being understanding of yourself during this time is very important. Put your best personal foot forward, and do not compare yourself to all the influences around you; it is not a competition of who can be the most productive during a pandemic. We are all going through this together, and just being able to finish the semester as strong as you can is an accomplishment.
On that note, our entire environment may have changed. For those living on campus or near campus, going back home has been an adjustment. We have parents and siblings that we may have not lived with for some months, so getting used to having everyone around again is difficult, especially when we are finishing up our semester. Finding a way to balance your responsibilities and family during a transitional semester is difficult. It may help to set boundaries and be open about your needs to keep the peace at home, as well as a bit of sanity when you are with the same individuals daily.
We are also in a constant state of confusion. Between the credit/no credit policy, new ways of taking finals, and the uncertainty of our fall semester, we don’t exactly know what the next few months will look like. It is important to stay grounded on what we do know and try not to stress about the unknown. As we have adapted in the past, we can look to the future with more assurance that we will be able to handle what it brings to us.
Boredom is the biggest driver of this quarantine. We have exhausted all the Netflix shows, scrolled endlessly on social media, and tried so many recipes that we are reaching a new level of not knowing what to do with ourselves. Trying to stay busy all the time is also difficult because of the responsibilities we do have, leading us to feeling slightly more burned out at home than we originally thought. Let yourself be bored, and you don’t necessarily have to be productive in what you choose to pass the time. Sure, we can find new hobbies and the millions of other ideas on Pinterest, but sometimes you can just take a nap or watch a rerun of an old movie. Being as happy as we can be is the most important element in this quarantine because it is testing our mental strength, so engage in things that will bring a smile to your face.
With all that considered, we have been through a lot in the past few months. From the fear of going outside sometimes to questions about the new normal, our lives have been turned upside down with little guidance on how to bounce back. Having older parents and grandparents is an added responsibility to consider when we moved back home. Not knowing when we will return to the old way of doing things is frightening, since that’s how most of us have lived up until this point. We can feel scared during this pandemic and understanding how to cope with it is key to moving forward in the uncertainty we experience.
Overall, it is important for us to be there for one another and support ourselves as well during this time. Take life a day at a time, and do not fall under the influential pressure of being the most productive person during quarantine. Even if we are home all the time, this is not a vacation by any means. We are going through a lot mentally, and you should treat yourself with adequate care, just as you would normally. Be resilient Titans–we’ve got this!