Images, Video and Written Feature by Sophie Z., Concordia Applied Journalism
The Corona Virus. COVID-19. What do you think of when you hear these words? The spread of this pandemic has brought about much suffering to our community, and during the past few months, we were encouraged to stay at home and maintain social distance at all times. As COVID-19 spread throughout Shanghai, schools shut down and all students had to continue their education through online schooling, which was a new experience for many of us at Concordia. Staying home and learning does bring about benefits, such as a flexible schedule and comfortable clothing (pyjamas all day), but of course, being in quarantine for three months has also led to the development of “bad habits”.
Amy L., a junior at Concordia, has been staying at her house for the entire time during quarantine, and noticed a significant change in her routine. When interviewed about a “bad habit” she developed during this lockdown, Amy immediately replied, “Exercising, for sure, because during the school year, I don’t exercise or work out on my own, but I love sports and I’m a two season athlete.” She goes on to explain that “volleyball is a team sport and swimming requires a swimming pool, and that’s pretty much impossible at the moment,” implying that her activities have definitely been restricted by the quarantine. However, because Amy states that the co-curricular activities are almost “forcing me to do sports even though I want to do them as well, doing sports that I don’t really do or working out is something that I have been having trouble with, so I haven’t been exercising that much at all.”
But of course, Amy is not the only one that developed a bad habit! Hannah L., another junior at Concordia, was trapped in Taipei for the majority of this quarantine period, unable to return to Shanghai due to the pandemic-induced travel restrictions. Hannah reflects that, “during this time of quarantine, self-discipline is very important because you don't really have set schedules every single day, and your time is very flexible.” While some may find the flexible schedule a pleasant change from the usual confined school schedule, this “freedom” was troublesome to Hannah. She expresses that, “I think it’s very difficult to stay on task and stay productive when you can really go on Netflix.”
This then brings us to Hannah’s admitted bad habit: binge-watching. She explains "currently I’m watching “The Office” and I’m on my last season!” Hannah has always enjoyed watching shows, however she freely admits that “I’ve spent quite some of my time on Netflix during this time of quarantine because there’s nobody there to tell me ‘Stop, you have to go to class,’ so it’s really self-discipline and I’m trying to work on stopping this habit.”
Andrew Z., also a junior from Concordia, has developed a seemingly miniscule yet highly “dangerous” routine. “The main bad habit that I’ve developed would be just looking at my phone after I wake up, and just staring at it for 40 minutes, and just lying in bed instead of getting up and getting started with my day,” says Andrew. This habit is certainly relatable, since we must all have done this once in a while!
But, how did Andrew notice the existence of such a typical bad habit, considering the prevailing social media addiction? Andrew thoughtfully replied, “On the first day [of quarantine], I remember thinking to myself, ‘Well, I don’t have any homework right now, so there’s no rush to get up! I’ll just look at my phone…’” As this mind-set continued with the “help” of this lockdown, Andrew reflected that “Within a week, I could tell that I was starting to do that (look at my phone) a lot compared to before.” He adds, “it definitely decreased my productivity and my motivation, because after I start looking at my phone for 20, 30 minutes, I don’t really feel the motivation to get up anymore. I just want to go back to sleep.”
“If I just push myself a little bit right after I wake up, I could have just spent all the time working,” notes Andrew. What’s worse, Andrew realized that this bad habit forms a vicious cycle: “Once I realize that ‘Hey, I don't want to work anymore’, I get annoyed because I think to myself, ‘How could I have done this to myself again?!’ That decreases my motivation even more because I feel discouraged, and I just want to sleep it away.”
Naturally, nobody likes to admit that they have developed a bad habit during this time period. However, it is okay to realize that we are not perfect, but still doing the best we can. In a time of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the smartest choice we as students can make is to persist through this difficult and confusing time, and take the most out of this experience by minimizing those bad habits and focusing on being our best.
Sophie Z. is a student of Concordia Applied Journalism