Before the pandemic, most of us relied on our laptops in school and offices to fulfil tasks and meet deadlines; however, technology has been used to fulfil more than just work and academics in the last two years.
In February 2020, I first heard about the COVID-19 pandemic on holiday in India. It was still referred to as the Wuhan Virus because we had no information about it except that it started in Wuhan. My brothers and I were thrilled to hear that our Chinese New Year break had been extended for another two weeks. The situation in India was still stable, therefore, no one was taking precautions as no one predicted it would escalate to the level it has today.
Although our holiday had been extended, I was desperate to get back home as I would be sitting my IGCSE exams in the next few months. On our return to Hong Kong, we were told that wearing a mask on flights was mandatory, and there was a compulsory temperature check at the airport. This was a complete change to our experience in India, but I remember not thinking much of it. After two weeks, we were notified again that schools would be closed until further notice due to the rise of COVID cases. Still stressed about my exams, I felt grateful to have the extra time to study but was upset that I wasn’t able to meet any of my friends.
A few months down the line, the situation hadn’t gotten better and going back to school didn’t sound like a possibility in the near future. I noticed that many people were losing motivation to study for exams as the possibility of them being cancelled was relatively high. Many people started to realise the importance of physical social interactions since the past few months, all we were seeing was many miniature moving faces on a screen. The in-class banter and group tasks had all been abandoned, and the school days felt endless.
Remote learning and working have affected people worldwide, and people have started sharing their experiences and struggles via social media with others who are going through similar situations. The use of apps such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok inspired people to go beyond the school/work day and pick up new skills and hobbies. The viral quarantine trends spread and were entertaining enough for everyone in my family from ages 50 to 70 years old!
One of the habits I picked up that I would like to carry forward in my life, which is to spend some time with myself. I was always someone who felt the need to fill my day with different activities, but by having restrictions on my social calendar, I have discovered so many hobbies and talents I would like to make time to practice.