Column: New horizons

As I near the end of the third month in quarantine at home, I find myself noticing a decline in my mental health and hope. In March when the Stay at Home orders were placed, my mentality was that those orders would be lifted in no time and somehow and some way everything will go back to normal.

But, my hopes and mental state began to dwindle when I realized it wasn’t anytime soon and I found myself questioning if this will ever end. The first change I noticed was that I was looking for “good news” related to COVID-19, such as people making masks for other people.

However, these high hopes only lasted about two weeks until I started to escape reality and start playing more video games such as Animal Crossing New Horizons. With the game being released near the end of March and until now, I have played over 250 hours on a single game.

I realized how gaming gave me the satisfaction that my actions can solve something such as completing the daily tasks in the game. Whereas in the COVID-19 world, I have no control but to stay inside hoping things would go back to a state of normalcy.

Within my social circle, people know me as the one who goes to sleep on time before midnight. For me I have to go to sleep by 11 p.m and I’ve done this all throughout high school and college.

Now I get to bed at 2 a.m. wide awake, tossing and turning until I hear birds chirping at 5:30 a.m.

During summer breaks, my friends and I always joke how messed up our sleeping schedule is during breaks but that’s expected and only lasts two months.

But with quarantining at home with no definitive date to when it will end, I can’t help but question how having a loss of sleep will affect me physically and mentally.

Staying at home for this long, my mind is constantly questioning how things changed so drastically as I lay awake at night saying “this can’t be real.”

At the start of the Stay at Home orders, I had hoped that it would end in no time and we’ll be back to Pierce in a month. Then came the denial phase where I didn’t think any of this was possible.

Now, I’m in the stage of acceptance and adapting to this new normal.

This is the stage where I realized I’ve been so dependent on a schedule like waking up at 8 a.m. and going to class, have lunch, go home and do homework, and then sleep. My schedule before COVID-19 was already made and now in quarantine I’m getting used to having no schedule.

Luckily for me, I have the privilege to have time to start new hobbies such as skating and painting. With this new normal, I’m spending more time cooking Bangladeshi food with my mom and prior to COVID-19 I always wanted to but couldn’t find the time.

Even during a pandemic when it’s unclear when life would go back to normal and we can have large social interactions again, I noticed that I still make plans with my friends for the future.

Our conversations consist of “after corona I can’t wait to go to the beach with you” and even though there’s no definitive date of these plans, “after corona” is what gives me hope.

Those two words give me a feeling that I can get through this and give me the strength that I desperately need during these uncertain times.