If I was asked at the beginning of the year: what do you envision 2020 to be like? A global pandemic would certainly be the last thing to come to mind. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many plans and goals that I set for the year. When the first lockdown in March 2020 was announced, I became very anxious and faced many uncertainties about accommodation, food, and my overall safety in BC.
As an international student, I am still learning the ropes and getting acquainted with the whole system which was different from that of Nigeria. Summer 2020 was my first summer in BC and I had planned to explore different parts of the province and build memorable experiences with friends.
Instead, I had to stay indoors and constantly think of ways to stay entertained. In a bid to avoid boredom, I started baking and cooking more while trying out new recipes. But a pitfall with staying indoors was that I was unable to connect with my friends and community in BC. On my birthday, which was in June, I was unable to celebrate how I wanted to and with those dear to me.
The pandemic made me realize that having a community around you makes a difference in the quality of your life. So, I became more intentional about calling and reaching out to my friends and family in BC and back home in Nigeria. Those conversations, laughter, smiles shared, and sighs heaved, acted as a reminder that I was not alone, and physical distance did not separate me from my support system.
The transition from in-person classes to remote learning was also a challenging adjustment for me. I consider myself a motivated person when it comes to studying and being a high achiever in my academics. However, I found myself unmotivated on most days and with low enthusiasm to show up for my virtual classes. I miss learning with people and engaging in discussions with other course mates. I also miss studying and preparing for tests and exams with my study buddies in person. Having done two semesters online now, I have devised schedules that help me stay productive, found accountability partners and organized Zoom study sessions with my friends. With all these changes, I am still learning and growing every day. On the bright side, the pandemic has taught me the importance of being open minded, learning to adapt, and doing so creatively. Even though I felt anxious and burdened with uncertainties, I was able to remain proactive and stay connected to others.