As we enter the fourth week of school closure in New York City, many things have become very apparent to me. For starters, I realized staying academically productive in quarantine requires a huge amount of self control and drive that I am only slowly beginning to grasp.
During the first 2 weeks of remote learning, I missed every single livestream and zoom meeting classes that were held before 2 pm. Many teachers do not require students to attend the live classes and give them the option of watching the lecture recording at a later time. Without the pressure of attending classes on time, I stopped setting an alarm and allowed myself to wake up at whatever time I wanted to. Before long, I was incredibly overwhelmed by the build up of work and I realized this was not the way to go. Watching recordings of teacher speaking was by far insufficient for a productive educational experience. For example, for my math class in particular, without the opportunity to ask clarifying questions on the spot, I am unable to understand the material nor complete my homework for the day. I was googling mathematical functions, watching youtube tutorials, and asking questions to my teachers through emails, taking around 3 hours a day to complete my classwork and homework for math alone. On top of all other courses I was taking, with which I faced similar issues, I fell into a vicious cycle of staying up until 4 am every day doing nothing but school work, and waking up at 2pm the next afternoon.
I realized the only way for me to remain motivated and productive is to attend these classes as if I was actually going to school. I began to change out of my pajamas in the morning, put on makeup, and eat breakfast all before my first class at 8am. I also found setting alarms throughout the day, mimicking school bells, very effective. Now, I am very comfortable with remote learning and I have plenty of free time to explore my other interests.
Since we now get very little social interactions with people outside of our immediate family whom we live with, maintaining contact with my friends has been incredibly important for me. We update each other on our daily lives and try to do something exciting to share with each other. With the rare opportunity of having so much free time, I began baking brownies and cookies again. I also finished a 1000 piece puzzle and began to play the flute, something I haven’t touched in a year.
While some of us have the leisure to explore our interests, others are fighting hard on the front line. My sister is working in a COVID-19 testing lab that is constantly in contact with live strains of the virus. She hasn’t been home in a month and she decided to not return home until the virus is completely under control and the lab stops working with testing in fear of bringing the virus home. I have grown very appreciative of those around me and hopefully the situation of the pandemic quickly recovers so we can return back to our normal life.