Post-COVID Reflections: Entering 2nd Year
By Shirley Mu
This article is part of a series of reflections by our team on their experiences during the pandemic. Shirley Mu, co-VP Marketing of The Mentorship Spot, will chronicle her journey of undergoing university through a pandemic. She is currently entering her 2nd Year at Western University.
The pandemic really derailed my studying habits because learning remotely meant that I didn’t have to put in as much effort as before. I found myself slacking on attending zoom lectures and I didn’t bother making a connection with teachers/ profs because we were online. It definitely changed my experience with coming into university because I was excited to experience big lecture halls and going to campus everyday, but that was not possible for every class and we had to go fully online for 2 months.
I found that joining ECs during the pandemic was easier because not as many people were applying and interested in joining. Organizations’ ability to run events decreased which made them somewhat less appealing to students. I hated participating in ECs virtually because it really took away from the interpersonal relationships that would have been made in an in person setting. There was also an apparent lack of motivation for members and clubs at times because it was just so hard to keep each other accountable if most events can’t be run the same way.
Mental Health and Overall Health
My mental health was really impacted because with COVID hitting when I was in grade 11, I really didn’t get to experience my senior year and first year of university to its fullest. I remember it not really hitting me that I was graduating high school because school felt unreal after we went online. It was really hard to sit at home staring at a wall and a screen everyday; I honestly didn’t have the energy to do much at the start.
To take care of my mental and physical health, in grade 12 I started filling my time with things instead of just being at home. I was involved with several extracurriculars as well as a part time job, so because I was keeping busy I didn’t feel as impacted by the things that I didn’t get to experience because of COVID. I also started working out more and it really helped my mental health in return.
After the pandemic hit and we went online, I lost touch with quite a few of my friends. The stress with being online and with uncertainties surrounding COVID made it harder to maintain friendships and I found myself being agitated easily over small things that my friends did. After a while, I took the first step to reach out to my friends and it was really nice to reconnect. I think having a good social circle during COVID was really great for my mental health because it was nice to see faces in real life. I found that sharing my thoughts and being transparent was great in keeping old and new relationships healthy; it’s important to not let negative things affect your communication.