Editor's note: When Covid-19 first shut down our schools, we asked students to tell us how they were doing at home. Now, two years later, things have changed significantly. School is in-person, but the virus has endured longer than any of us predicted. Read on for some deeply introspective entries that remind us to be grateful, and might even spark a chuckle or two.
How to Stay Sane and Productive During Social Isolation
By Christopher Parsick
These are really weird times for all of us, and the fact that we’re not allowed to do many of the things we’re used to doing can be maddening. I’ll admit, for the first few days of social isolation, I didn’t know what I was doing. I drifted between TikTok, YouTube, and Netflix. However, in the last few days, I’ve slowly fallen into a routine that’s been keeping me sane. Today, I’m gonna share some tips for staying in control in uncontrollable times.
First of all, I wake up early. Not school morning early, but I don’t let myself sleep past nine. This is more of a personal thing, but if I sleep late, I’m dogged by this feeling that I’ve wasted my time. Maybe it’s because I’m a morning person. I’ll never know.
Secondly, I try to do some kind of work each day. Whether it’s creative work like making music or writing these articles or schoolwork like writing my synthesis paper, I try to give myself specific goals to accomplish and specific amounts of time to accomplish them in. An hour to research for a paragraph of a paper. Half an hour to write this article. Parkinson’s law states that work expands to fill the time allowed, so I work to make sure the time I allow it isn’t that much.
I’ve been using this time to sleep as much as possible. Just days before school was canceled, I had essays due and hours of rehearsal. Within forty-eight hours, all of that was gone. During that time, the main thing I wanted was sleep and I’m making sure I get it now.
I’ve also been taking long walks. Staying inside your house all day can be infuriating and most experts say it’s fine to go out for walks, as long as you’re six feet away from other people. During these walks, I usually listen to podcasts or music.
That leads to the media I’ve been watching and listening to. One of the good things about having all this time now is that I actually have time to go through my Netflix watchlist. I’ve been getting into a TV show called Babylon Berlin, which is a German show about a detective in Berlin in the 1930s. I’ve also been using Netflix Party to watch movies and shows with friends. It’s been a great way to hang out with friends while practicing social isolation.
That’s mostly what I’ve been doing over this extended time off. As a normally social person, I can’t say I’m having an amazing time, but I’m managing. I hope everybody out there can use these tips to stay safe and sane.
Nicole's Take on Quarantine
By Nicole Schully
Four Days of Quarantine With Jeffry
By Jeffry Purnomo
I did nothing productive. That’s a tiny lie actually, I finished one homework assignment, and told myself I would work on synthesis, which I obviously didn’t do. I finished two playthroughs of Death and Taxes (highly recommend btw) and sat in bed. Around the tenth hour of consciousness, Karishma asked me to join a call, and we talked far longer than we should have. Passed out around 12:30. Had to wake up early the next day to drive my grandma to work.
All in all, a day well spent.
Day Two (I think?)
I did nothing today. I sat in bed trying to do synthesis, not doing it, and being lazy. Tried helping my dad sign up for unemployment insurance, but the Dept. Of Labor website was like screw you, and it kept crashing. Played a couple rounds of SCP Secret Laboratory– that was my highlight. For dinner, I ate a steak and some broccoli; felt proud of the broccoli bit. Only time I willingly eat vegetables is during the apocalypse. Anyway, that was my day. Did nothing productive.
Day Three (Probably)
Spent most of the day trying to help my dad with filling out unemployment insurance. Website kept crashing, so couldn’t really do anything. Bought both prototype one and two on Steam, probably gonna be playing those for most of the quarantine. Late at night I tried to work on my synthesis. Didn’t write a single word. I’ve kind of made peace with the fact I’m probably not going to get it done by tomorrow. Whatever. Today was super mundane anyway. I ate chicken wings at 12:30 AM so I guess that was today’s highlight. If anyone wants to communicate tomorrow I’d happily oblige. I’m bored as balls right now. F***, it’s only day 3.
Finished my synthesis in an hour. It was terrible. I submitted it ten minutes late. Hopefully they’ll let it slide since we’re going through the apocalypse. Played some more prototype today, pretty fun game, not going to lie. Talked with Karishma and Nicky today, made some ramen while on call, which was fun. Nothing really to say about today, kinda just a boring Friday. When will this quarantine blow over? I just want to go outside and buy sandwiches with y’all.
By Ameen Khan
This was the first weekday where we were missing school because of the Coronavirus. The school had plans to resume school on Monday, but I and everyone else knew that it was just not going to happen with the number of cases exponentially growing. I treated this day as an extended weekend because I knew I wasn’t going to be back in school for a little bit.
On Tuesday, my friends and I were bored, so we decided to bike out to Pirates' Cove. At this point in time, social distancing was not as emphasized as it was soon going to be, but this day was also treated like a small vacation.
There was nothing truly distinct about these next few days. I stayed at home and just paid attention to the news about the alarming number of Coronavirus cases. I was starting to get bored, so I decided to learn some more skateboarding tricks and work out to fill my time.
My household was running low on some grocery supplies so my dad and I headed out to the grocery store. Surprisingly there wasn’t too much craze, but still we were properly equipped with gloves and masks. We got what we needed for the potential next 2-3 weeks of quarantine because at that time we didn’t know when self isolation was going to be over.
After skateboarding and working out those past couple of days, I said why not start doing some homework, so I’m not cramming it until the end. The school had recently declared that online school would be starting on March 30, so I knew I had some time until then. It didn't take much time, but it gave me something to do.
I Facetimed with my friends a lot, as we had nothing better to do. We were all bored sitting at home, but at least we were safe. At this time there were still people not taking it seriously and hanging out, but NY quickly rose to be the worst affected state in the nation. Other than that, I would stay in my room and watch Netflix/ Youtube.
Today I realized that the AP exams were coming up and they were going to be very different from what they were supposed to be. I watched a bunch of CollegeBoard videos in preparation. Like almost every other day, I just relaxed and worked on my own stuff.
This was the day before online classes were supposed to start. I finished up all of my homework and was paying close attention to what the teachers wanted us to do for classes tomorrow. Looking back, I probably should have spaced out my time better on the work, but it was no problem, I had more than enough free time on my hand. I planned to get to bed early because I knew I had to wake up early– previously I had been waking up around 12:00.
The Beginning of Quarantine
By Sam Mangiaracina
Day One (3/26/20)
Today, I woke up at 8 o’clock in the morning, collected wood on animal crossing, and promptly fell back sleep until two in the afternoon, like a true American. I woke up again, took notes on the AP Psychology livestream, and put away some dishes. I’m going to get some fresh air, and then start planning my next D&D session. And then hopefully get a shower in before midnight. I need to start eating on a regular schedule, not just when I remember that I’m hungry. At least I get real clothes on every day, which is supposed to increase efficiency (not that I’ve been seeing any proof of that).
Today I realized just how behind in school work I am. So, I responded appropriately by procrastinating and prepping my next D&D session. Then I procrastinated on that by starting collage applications. Then I procrastinated on that with Animal Crossing. I think the worst thing about that game is how productive it makes you feel.
Two Days of Quarantine With Julia
By Julia Hennessey
Hi! I'm Julia– the one that likes comic sans. So far I've been practicing social distancing by reading The Handmaid’s Tale and writing. Online school doesn’t start for another week, and I'm honestly so bored. But I learned how to make that TikTok coffee, which was interesting. It wasn't good, but it was interesting. That’s all.
I found out I got into Binghamton and wrote. That was basically my day. But I figured starting tomorrow, I’m going to bake a lot. 'Cause I don't know what else to do, and hey, I don’t know how to use an oven anyways so I may as well use this time to learn.
Submissions have been lightly edited for clarity.