Jahnavi Shah

PhD Student, Planetary Science

Research Level: Pandemic

Quarantine Week 2:

Things have changed so very quickly over the span of this month. It started off with hearing about COVID-19 cases spreading outside of the outbreak location, but seemed far from Canada. After that, things progressed day-by-day: there were cases in Canada, a global pandemic was announced, all events got cancelled, universities moved to online classes. And now the province of Ontario is unofficially on lock down with all non-essential businesses closed, while many countries around the world are on lock down.

The situation has affected my schedule for sure and I’m trying my best to cope with it. However, I do recognize that in terms of the pandemic, it’s low scale, and I’m healthy and safe for which I am grateful! In no way does it compare to the global crisis, but I’m going to share my experience so far.

The first change that hit me was the cancellation of conferences/large events/international travel. I very well understand the importance of the decision to keep everyone safe (and I am in full support), but it’s still upsetting to see something you’ve worked on for half a year get cancelled. I am hoping that I can partake in most of these experiences next year though, so that’s something to look forward to.

The other largest change has been working from home as the university has moved everything online. I think the shift started off pretty well. I was productive for the first several days of Week 1 of quarantine. But now I’m starting to realize that it might have been because it was still new, and I sometimes work from home so it felt like one of those days. However, now I’m into Week 2 and things have slowed down! I think the location is only a small part of it – it’s almost more convenient because less time is required to “get to work” and in the past I’ve been productive at home. For me, the reason for the decreased productivity is that the global news are on my mind. When the pandemic was declared, I took it upon myself to stay informed and read articles/updates daily. I found it very helpful (at least in the beginning) and I would share the updates with friends which led to informative discussions. However, over the last few days, I found myself engaged in COVID-19 research/news/update all day long. So even though I thought it was helpful, I might have overdone it. And now, I think I’m going to take a break from checking new stats and try my best to focus on thesis work.

In other news, I am doing other things to keep my mind and body active at home. I am making time for hobbies (which I didn’t necessarily do before) and going outside (for a walk or run) everyday. I’m also connecting with friends more frequently which has definitely been very helpful!

These are interesting times we live in. Hope everyone is coping with the current situation and keeping safe/sane!

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