Life under the pandemic and its resulting restrictions have forced hundreds of students to stay at home full time, even with the return to in-person school.
This is a way of living that most students would have never experienced before. In this process, some students are struggling to adapt while other students have become well adapted into this unique and unusual way of life.
In Diana S.’s case, she was one of the students who was stranded in Canada, who did not manage to go back to her home country of China when schools closed in March. She is a grade 12 student at WCI.
At that time of the school closures, life for her was a completely different experience. Under the shutdown, although she was not able to go outside, she still put on makeup every morning, hoping that stores and restaurants would reopen soon.
Before the pandemic hit, she was very social. “Every afternoon, I would hangout with my friends and grab a drink at Starbucks,” she says.
As the lockdown progressed, even things as simple as a leisurely walk with friends were not allowed.
But as the situation has changed, so did Diana’s habits. Diana’s meetings with friends abruptly moved online as chatting through Social Network Service (SNS) suddenly become a new fashion.
Although SNS provided a solution for her social life, Diana says she hasn’t quite gotten used to it. “Communication without coming face to face is lacking emotional expression,” Diana said. “A text without a vocal tone or facial expression makes the message hard to understand and easier to get misinterpreted.”
One of the positive sides of Diana’s new life is time management. Diana says that everything is done at home, which means that time does not need to be divided into small blocks and wasted because of transportation. Under the pandemic, Diana gets more time to explore her hobbies, and playing her piano is one of them.
Besides exploring hobbies, staying healthy is also important to Diana. As jogging outside became dangerous to her, she has chosen to practice yoga to stay fit and as a break between stretches at a computer screen. It is something she is trying out as an experiment for her own physical fitness and mental wellness.
Zhuojun X., a grade 12 student at WCI, faced the same problem just like anyone else: staying at home while school buildings closed. But he says he is comfortable with the changes brought by living during a pandemic.
After the pandemic hit, most options of his past lifestyle suddenly were not available to him anymore. He was unable to go to the local library and study with his friends, nor could he spend time with his friends outside without having to wear a mask.
But he has found that it is fairly comfortable for him to stay at home. Zhuojun says, “As long as I have internet access, free time is never enough.”
Zhuojun is interested in computer technologies and is planning to apply to a computer science (CS) program next year.
Under the current learning models offered to him, Zhuojun finds it more efficient to study CS and math at home. The modern technology of computers and tablets allows him to build a multi-use workspace for himself.
He says, “The good thing about using a computer to study math is that you can draw perfect graphs according to an equation. I [feel] this is a more efficient way to do my work: the future has come.”
Although electronic distractions are not a new problem for Zhuojun, he has found that his phone’s notifications disturb him now more than ever. Thus, he has chosen to put his phone away when he is studying.
After studying hard in the afternoon, he will often relax by playing video games on his computer. Dark Souls is his favourite game to play. He finds the game challenging and rewarding after a stage is cleared. This is the outcome of how the pandemic has changed his life.
Although they are trying to adapt to this lifestyle, both Diana and Zhuojun say that the compromises they’ve made didn’t come from their own will.
“I wish restaurants could open so I can eat my favourite barbeque!” says Diana.
“If the lockdown is terminated, I would still spend some time at the library,” says Zhuojun.
No matter how students adapt to the lockdown, they still anticipate that sometime in the future, their regular life can come back.FOLLOW FJORD: