Lessons I’ve learnt during quarantine season
I hope everyone is doing alright and am coping well. I believe now, almost the whole world is in a lockdown. Everyone is at home for at least a week now, and it feels like we’ve lost track of time. Here are some things I’ve learnt throughout my time in quarantine:
1) I feel more connected to people more than ever
It is so ironic that at times like these, I am more in touch with my friends than I would normally. Most of us are so bored at home, with our lack of motivation to do anything, so all we do is use our phones and wish we were somewhere else but at our house. This is particularly true, especially for extroverts like me. I had the worst time during the first week of self-isolation. I actually self-isolated myself a week earlier than the UK, because that was when Malaysia started implementing its Restricted Movement Order (RMO), an indication that the peak season is coming. I was worried that the UK will not do anything, and I fear about my health hence the early self-isolation. I was in chaos, I was restless and I felt so drowned because I felt lonely. It is a looming feeling and you just feel demotivated to do anything. But what I started to do was to reach out to people. I reached out to my family members, to my friends and even to my supervisor (more on this later). Surprisingly, I even kept in touch with my old high school friends whom I haven’t contacted for years! And they responded immediately. Honestly, this time is the perfect time for you to start contacting your old friends and relatives, they won’t have an excuse not to response now that they are in their homes. However, this is NOT an excuse to text your ex!!
2) Set your intentions in studying well
When I was in a funk on my first week of self-isolation, I had this random thought to email my supervisor. She just seemed like a nice person to chat with honestly and I’ve had small talks with her before so she seemed friendly. So I reached out to her because of my lack of motivation and sought for her help. I honestly did not expect a response, but she immediately replied! She gave me a good tip, which I find useful for me to share with you guys.
When you want to study, think about why you are studying it in the first place. For instance, I study Economics. It is now more important than ever to study Economics amidst the pandemic. We could use the theory and understand why a global pandemic can affect the stock market. For me in particular, I am doing a dissertation on the gig economy, where people can use apps and become self-employed, which is more crucial at times like these, hence it should be a motivation to start working on it. Yesterday, my housemates and I had a chat on why the Central Bank can’t simply print off money to help those who can’t afford healthcare services, and I was able to give them a proper explanation on it and provided the hyperinflation incident in Germany as an example.
At times like these, it is more important than ever for you to start revising. You may feel, especially for those graduating this year, your future is bleak because we are entering the labour market in a recession, but now is the time for you to invest more than ever in education (what we labour economists call the human capital investment), so when the recession is over, we become valuable to employers. So, go get that degree, boys and girls!
3) It is okay to have bad days
Honestly, this is me at the moment
I am literally lying in bed writing this post at 10.33pm. I have messed up my sleeping pattern, sleeping at 5am and waking up at 2pm almost every day.
But I just wanted to say that, it is okay to have days where you feel unmotivated. Just know, that you need to take the initiative to get out of it. Little by little. Yesterday, I did a bit of Labour Economics. Albeit very minimal, I still patted myself in the back because it is still a progress from the last few days. The more you appreciate your effort, the better it is for you to get your motivation back! So, take your time in rebuilding yourself.
4) I’ve done plenty of new things that I’ve always wanted to do now
I’ve always wanted to do all the famous tik tok dances (Renegade, all dances with Doja Cat songs), post some singing covers, learn some dances from Youtube.
For the past few weeks, those things are literally all I do! I submitted my penultimate assignment of the year last Tuesday. From that day onwards, I started my Tik Tok account, danced, sang covers and did a lot of yoga classes with my yoga teacher who is now in Berlin!
I love how everyone is so productive at home. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, whether it is the Bingo challenge, or drawing a random orange, posting an embarrassing photo of yourself because you liked your friends’ photos which were captioned “Until tomorrow”, reading books, or making dalgona coffee! Those are all productive and wholesome. Keep doing what you love, you won’t know when else can you do all these. And when you look back once this pandemic is over, you will miss the moments of you doing these things. Trust me on this!
5) Keep reaching out to your friends
As an international student, you may notice your fellow international friends going back to their home countries sooner than expected. Especially for me, almost all my Malaysian friends are leaving for good, so it is important to keep track of those who are staying. This is because they may be living alone, so you need to keep in touch with them to help them stay sane. My friends have done a lot for me throughout my university life, so it is now time for me to return the favour by keeping tabs on them and occasionally video calling them. Loneliness can be a scary thing, but it doesn’t have to be. If you know anyone who is staying alone, please keep in touch with them, we are ALL in this together.
6) It is okay to take breaks from social media and news
Before my essay submission last Tuesday, I was really having a tough time because it was the start of my self-isolation and trying to get my motivation to start reading for my essay. For me, the best way forward was to temporarily shut down my Instagram and Facebook account and stop googling “coronavirus uk” every 5 minutes to keep tabs on when will the Prime Minister announce a proper lockdown. I had more time for my work and started becoming more productive. From there, I only filtered and understood what was important to me. I am already getting news from my family and friends via Whatsapp (though I still need to google the news online to ensure its authenticity and the news aren’t merely fake after being forwarded so many times). So shutting down IG, FB and Snapchat for a while is okay. Especially at this point, a lot of people may express their worries on there, so if that affects you mentally, you could also mute them or to deactivate your account for a while. In my social media, a few of my friends are contemplating on whether to stay in the UK or to fly back to their home countries, which can get messy, especially if you’ve already made up your mind on a particular decision, so if it messes my head, I would take a break for a while, or otherwise mute those who cause unnecessary fights with others on this topic. Remember, everyone is entitled to their opinion hence we should respect their decision!
I took a break for about four days, and I believe that it was enough for me to understand who I want to connect with in my life, and whom I should virtually avoid if it messes my mental space. Don’t feel guilty in muting people if whatever they post cause more harm than good.
That’s it from me! I will be doing something interesting in April, so be sure to keep yourself updated with more content from me! I hope you find these lessons useful as you go through this very uncertain situation. We got this! <3