Living away from home during the pandemic

Everything has been so unreal ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started. As someone whose home city is Wuhan, China, I went through an emotional rollercoaster in early February 2020: constantly checking the number of cases, learning from social media how situations were developing, and worrying about families and friends back home.

I continued to attend in-person lectures until UBC announced the transition to online lectures in mid-March. Most students, including myself, were relieved by this change in course delivery because it no longer seemed safe to physically attend a 200-person lecture. My workload did not necessarily become lighter because instructors strived to deliver as much quality content as possible which I was grateful for, despite some technological issues.

Grocery shopping back in April was kind of crazy. Since we were not sure how strict COVID restrictions might become, every time I went shopping, I would hoard up as much stuff as possible. Though I was thankful to be able to purchase the things that I needed, it was a scary time wandering in between half-empty aisles feeling uncertain about where things might lead me. I stopped going to restaurants and switched to preparing meals by myself, and had lots of fun with discovering new recipes and a healthier diet. No longer able to access music rooms, I bought myself a digital piano. I also visited local trails and quiet beaches where there were no other people and I could connect with nature. Summer 2020 was not a summer for travelling, but having a few outdoor places to myself where I could temporarily escape my apartment was a privilege.

I started my third year completely online in September 2020 and, despite having mixed feelings at the start, I soon adapted to the online format and found myself learning at a comfortable pace. While it has been more than a year and a half since I last saw my family, 2020 was a year for me to mature mentally.