Online school has been a huge challenge for me because I am someone who learns much better through group discussions. I have to absorb everything by myself now and it is really difficult and tiring. My time management has also changed a lot. Because everything is much more flexible, I often start to procrastinate, and so my learning efficiency goes down. This newfound flexibility has given me a lot of stress because I didn’t know how to organize my life. On top of all of that, we are also learning a lot more content, which leads our teachers to give us a lot more work compared to regular school.
I’ve felt burnt out during this quarantine. The frequency of my mental breakdowns have increased because I feel like I have absolutely no control over my life. At first, it seemed like there were so many more hours in the day, but now, it's started to feel like I’m wasting it all away. My breakdowns are a result of small inconsequential steps, like when the WiFi doesn’t work when I have to hand in a paper for a class. Losing control of your life in that regard is really stressful and online learning has only magnified that. Before this all happened, nobody could have imagined going to online school but that is our new reality now.
I'm under immense pressure right now due to college admissions because I think that Chinese students, such as myself, always feel the constant pressure to prove ourselves with SAT scores, but now those are no longer attainable. We have been taught that our SAT scores are an essential part of our applications. Given the current circumstances, all of the testing opportunities have been cancelled. This is something that we cannot control at all and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. I guess the only thing we can do right now is to work on our grades and other activities. Everything just feels so strained. To be completely honest, I’m going insane right now because of how insecure I feel. I am the most secure when I’m maintaining my relationships at school with my friends but that is all gone now. It’s an entirely new experience for all of us because talking to one another has become so much harder.
At the end of the day, I find comfort in the fact that Shanghai is doing a great job with the quarantine measures and that the doctors are working very hard. The Chinese government worked so hard on this situation and that is why I feel safe.
Written by: Tony He