As we've reached a full year of being in self-isolation, it's easy to see many of the negative impacts that it's had. However, by looking at it at a personal level, could something beneficial have come out of quarantine?
by Sindu Vipparthy
“I’ll either see you on Tuesday or never again”, I said to Keya as we walked down the hall to our 6th-period classes.
And guess what? I haven’t seen her since.
It’s been exactly a year since everyone was sent home due to the increasing threat of the pandemic. COVID-19, to this day, has impacted billions of people, infecting millions of people by the second and hitting the record high mortality rate in a single stretch.
However, instead of focusing on the global perspective of this pandemic, I’ll be taking all my experiences in a year of quarantine and judging whether I, on a personal level, benefitted from self-isolation or was a victim of many negative impacts.
So through all the pain and agony it has caused, is there something positive that came out of this pandemic? Or was it just an overall negative experience? Well, let’s find out.
Quarantine was a Negative Experience:
Self-isolation has impacted me greatly, and in more ways than one.
All this time, usually alone in my room, has diminished my zeal to stay physically healthy and go outside. I often find myself struggling to get out of this safe space I’ve created to spend time in fresh air. I do remember exercising every day back in May when my spirits were still high. However, the thought of this perpetuating daily cycle, the same thing over and over again, forces my mind to go numb at the thought of putting effort into anything.
After a few months of quarantine, around July, I went out for a run and was barely able to clear the block until I started wheezing. Since my physical capabilities had depreciated to such an extent, I was, and am still, unmotivated to go outside and get them back to what they used to be.
Apart from just physical health, I’ve noticed that my mental health dropped due to the lack of stimulation from the environment around me. Over time, I became more of a procrastinator and put less effort into my work since I was always tired from, essentially, living the same day over and over again.
Additionally, I’ve also noticed that my social skills, my already amateur abilities to converse with strangers, had become even worse. For example, when going to a department store recently, my mom asked me to find an employee so they could find the price of an item. I was weirdly frightened to approach the employee and “inconvenience” them for asking for help. I even rehearsed what I was going to say so I wouldn’t embarrassingly stumble across my words when speaking to them. Even while I spoke to them, I could clearly hear every stutter I made. I eventually accomplished this task, however, it gave me a startling insight into how much I’ve changed over a year; a year ago, talking to an employee would be a minor task, something over and done. However, now it’s something I’ll desperately avoid doing.
Despite conversing with people every day, talking to only a certain few people had made me forget the reality of talking to strangers.
Consequently, I encountered many downsides to being in self-isolation for months, and I’m sure many others have been caught in this unfortunate scenario as well.
Quarantine had Some Positive Impacts:
Apart from all the negative impacts of self-isolation, I have encountered a few positive developments over the past few months. I started noticing these advancements especially after school started as it forced me to get out of my comfort zone more than usual.
First of all, physically not interacting with a lot of people has caused me to put in the effort to talk to others. Therefore, I was able to decide which connections were really important to me and which ones I was ready to cut off. I was able to develop my connections with these certain people without having to worry about toxicity or being ingenuine. I often interact with them very frequently, and it’s done great things for my self-esteem and overall happiness.
Having all this extra time during school days in which I’d be doing something different (for example, driving to school and back would take at least an hour daily) allows me to spend more time doing things I’d actually like to do. I’ve had a lot of time to think about myself and others around me. I’ve especially had the time to look into world issues and current events; keeping myself informed is something I would have never had the time for prior to distance-learning. I’ve had time to converse with my peers for hours about things like the purpose of diversity in the world and the consequences of the world being rid of all its problems. It’s things like these that sometimes make me reconsider my overall quarantine experience.
Additionally, I’ve had the time to think about how I really feel about myself. I’ve made some really great changes; it’s appalling how different I used to be a year ago.
And last of all, all this free time had allowed me to help work on this publication, which I’m extremely thankful for. Trilemma was a project we started to stay productive in quarantine, and it’s crazy how far we’ve gotten with it.
COVID was something that took the world by surprise. It’s caused all this pain and agony which can never really be overlooked. Additionally, the initial impacts of isolation, ones that I’ve noticed in my own life, left me feeling like someone reliving the same day over and over again.
However, I’d be lying if I said quarantine was just overall bad. I’ve met some really great people, learned more about myself, and gained more of an insight into what impact I’d like to have in the future.
By continuing to remember the mistakes we’ve made throughout this past year, we should be able to move on and hopefully make less of them in the future.
And this was my Year of Quarantine.