Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 26, 2020

Reflecting on an "extended weekend" and what's to come

By VICKY CHEN | April 27, 2020

cake

COURTESY OF VICKY CHEN

Baking has been one of Chen’s favorite leisure activities during her time social distancing.

I have, like the rest of us, been feeling a mushy amalgamation of lethargy and unease. Each endless Sunday I wake up anytime between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., eat whatever meal feels the most appropriate, and weave in and out of Zoom meetings, naps, Netflix binge sessions and schoolwork. 

That said, I am lucky enough to be quarantining with close friends in Baltimore. We do our best to maintain some sense of normalcy and joy. Movie nights are common. Moana is always a favorite, and I’ve finally gotten around to watching Good Will Hunting. Watching movies has been a good way to make sure that our conversations are not always filled with worries about the pandemic. Fatigued by the depressing 24-hour news cycle of the past couple of months, it has been refreshing to simply think about art that we enjoy. We can laugh at an actor’s performance and discuss in awe the precision of a director’s work. These are things that remind us of a pre-COVID world and give us hope that there are still great things to be found in this one. 

And as this apartment always has, we continue to find joy in food. Whether that means baking a cheesecake, ordering from our favorite local restaurant or cooking the most ridiculously heavy cheesy chicken pasta, we are sure to share laughs and drowsily sprawl over the couch in food comas. 

I was discussing with someone a few days ago about how as students, our sense of personal growth comes during the semester. Each semester we have a few months of intensely packed schedules and of being constantly surrounded by friends. After this, we have weeks of empty time to do nothing but reflect (not before pensively staring out the window on the flight home). Even if grades aren’t good or hard times come, after our last final, we can always look back on the past few months and recognize that we have been through a lot and that we have changed in some way. As this semester comes to a close, this checkpoint seems less certain. What have I really accomplished in the past few months? Have I really grown? 

Perhaps one form of growth, however, is the recognition that no growth in a certain period of time is okay. Or, at the very least, that that growth may come in many forms. It is okay that I might not be able to achieve my target GPA for the semester, and it is okay that I did not unlock the key to productivity and motivation. It is even okay that I did not drastically improve my abilities to communicate and be a good friend.

But I did get marginally better at dicing onions. I did invest time in things I truly cared about, like my design team’s bid in the University’s recent Business Plan Competition. Perhaps the unrelenting pace at which we normally expect growth and output isn’t really what’s best for us. I don’t have a fully formed opinion on this, but this “weekend” has shown me that there are different ways of approaching this issue. 

I’ve found that I latch onto small moments of joy much more than I have before. I am absolutely shocked by how big the pink flowers on the tree outside the apartment are each time I go outside. Skribbl.io sessions are now much funnier than I would have ordinarily found them. 

So what does this mean for “when this is all over”? Will I be okay with not achieving something new every waking second of my life? Will I cook more, and will I still care so much about flowers? Maybe, maybe not. I might just miss frequent naps. 

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