Students reflect on a year of quarantine-itis

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The dim light shining through the windows as students wake up sets the mood for yet another continuous online school day. With no respite from this fatigue, students continue to open their laptops to the familiar sight of grey boxes on everyone’s new closest companion, Zoom. No rooms to rush to after class, no stairs to overcome, and no bus to catch to head home. Only a button to click to head to class. 

Quarantine-itis has reached all grades, as students find themselves increasingly prone to procrastination due to the lack of motivation to excel academically. Freshman Ava Collins said, “When you see 11:59 p.m., it’s easier to say ‘I can do that later’ and so, it’s harder to submit an assignment.” Burdened by the exhaustion of “quarantine-itis”by the start of the second semester,  some Harrisites reflect on the first semester and set goals for themselves. 


With this new learning environment, many students expressed the struggles that remote learning posed in their first semester. Freshman SnehaShree Paul said, “It is very difficult to feel motivated and that of course affects the quality of my work.” Not only have efforts to obtain high grades decreased, but students’ physical activity levels have also decreased. Junior Edwin Cheng said, “I’d say that maintaining a routine workout and exercising often has been a struggle. It’s really easy to become laid back and turn into a couch potato.” 

In regards to social life, many feel that the inability to meet with their friends has led to a drop in their motivation to complete other tasks. For seniors in particular, they were eager to spend their last year with their friends before college. Senior Kevin Baijoo said, “I would [have] loved to see my friends all the time and chill in the building. Senior year was supposed to be super fun after applying to college, because we could relax a lot more and hang out, but sadly this wasn’t the case.” Senior Justyne Buenaventura also said, “I think missing all the senior experiences I was looking forward to has definitely affected my motivation. I wanted to enjoy all the free periods I finally got to have, all the senior traditions like retaking my freshman year ID picture and the senior trip, finally being able to use the back entrance, my last FON and SING, and so much more.”

Aside from struggles with motivation and missing out on Townsend experiences, many Harrisites have been affected mentally. With the rise in current events over the past year, like Black Lives Matter and race-related crimes against the AAPI community, students from all grades have struggled with their mental health. Kevin said, “It’s stressful to have these things always on the back of your mind, and be constantly worrying about issues that shouldn’t exist in the first place.” 


Yet, through these challenges, many students also acknowledged the various benefits that came with remote learning. Specifically for the Class of 2021, many seniors said that remote learning provided them with more time to complete their college applications. Senior Xandria Crosland said, “It made it easier for me to set aside time to work on certain things. If I was in the building, I would get distracted [more easily].” Students from other grades also expressed how they benefited from the flexibility that remote learning brought. Sophomore Aissatou Lam said, “There’s certain rules enforced with remote learning like not getting work during the weekends, the homework schedule, work not due certain days, [which] help you to relax more and help you not get stressed.”

Goals for Next Semester

For this upcoming semester, students expressed their desires to improve their academic, physical, and social lifestyles. Like many Harrisites, freshman Minyuan Cheng said that she would like to “obtain better grades and fix some of [her] bad habits.” For the freshmen in particular, they expressed how they wished to engage with their classmates more. Freshman Hasana Abdullah said, “I hope to build relationships with peers before entering the school building so I’m not completely lost.” Kevin, also said, “In the second semester, I definitely want to relax more and have more of a social life. With the vaccine being distributed, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to see my friends a lot more and hang out outdoors especially since the weather’s getting warmer.” 

Though there were various struggles that students experienced throughout the first semester, it is clear that many have tried to stay optimistic and make the most out of the circumstances. As we look forward to the future, we can only be hopeful that our conditions will better.