Everything seemed normal during that fateful Wednesday morning. The clock ticked, students ran around the hallways, classes were taught and listened to, and life seemed to go on. The thought of that being our last day was awfully distant.
An urgent meeting was called by our high school principals; everybody was confused. The meeting was about the coronavirus pandemic and how we were supposed to be prepared for distance learning. They gave us the rest of the week off and told us we might not come back to school for some time. Everyone was delighted. I even went out with my girlfriend for the whole weekend! It was like a blessing in disguise, the break we needed from school. National quarantine was announced, and then distance learning suddenly became this permanent wall made of procrastination and failed grades, the death of any academic responsibility I had gathered through the year. I was scared out of my mind.
The greatest shock of all was the fact that I had to stay home for a whole month. I went from being outside every single day of the week and just sleeping at home, to being confined completely – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We started to be dependent on our home. And thus, ADHD Santi made a comeback. For the first week, teachers took it easy on us. I felt overwhelmed with the little amount of work that was assigned, but at the same time, I cared much more about Netflix than doing schoolwork. The procrastination monkey had a firm grip over my judgment. “Meh, it’s due next week, just do it tomorrow, let’s watch some YouTube.” I would tell this to myself every day and it quickly became a vicious cycle of postponement and procrastination. As a result, that same Thursday, I had to spend the entire day working in order to turn in all the work I didn’t do during the week. And even though I worked for the whole day, I just gave up and turned in less than 70% of the work I had to complete for that same week. Things had to change.
After that terrible week, I made a promise to myself that I was committed to keeping. I told myself that I had to do work regardless of how I felt and how much YouTube and Netflix called me. Next Monday came by and I woke up early, took a shower, and sat down in front of my computer. I’ve always made fun of my mom for writing down tasks with a certain schedule following strict time constraints. It seemed like it worked so I copied it. This made me aware of how much a certain task should take, making me spend the right amount of time on each assignment. It quickly became a habit, and without even realizing it, life became much easier. School went from being the most difficult and daunting task of my day to being a couple of little assignments. When calculated right, I had the rest of the day to binge-watch TV shows and to work out.
“I’ve always had to manage my time efficiently, training at least two hours daily takes a lot of time from your day, especially when you’re going to school and also practice volleyball,” Belisa Villa, a tennis player, said. “I always start with the easiest and less time-intensive tasks in order to feel that my work is being worthwhile. Plus, it’s much better to complete a lot of tasks in a minimal amount of time, rather than taking the same amount of time for one single assignment,” Villa said. Ordering tasks from least to most time-intensive made getting things done a lot more satisfying, a great strategy to implement along with task planning.
Time went by, quarantine was extended and after solving one major issue with distance learning, came another one, mental health. Confinement quickly got to me, the feeling of loneliness quickly started to make itself present, the disconnection from the outside world, and the feeling that my social life was over, seemed terrifying to me. I also started to find myself bored and with time in my hands that I didn’t even know what to do with. Hence, I recurred to exercise apps to keep myself both entertained and healthy.
This “flu-like” virus took the whole world by surprise. Although it’s been hard to cope with confinement and distance learning, we’ve all found strategies and workarounds for our weaknesses. I’ve always considered myself a practical optimist, and based on historical data, pandemics much worse than the coronavirus have been beaten by the human race. Finally, the pandemic has also pushed us out of our comfort zone in order to innovate, reinvent, and revolutionize the way we interact, work, and educate.