Photo courtesy of Zach Shah
As with most days at this point in quarantine, junior Zach Shah begins by grabbing his phone from beside his bed. Still groggy from sleep, he clicks onto the first social media app he sees, then scrolls through amusing memes and pictures from friends.
A monotony sets in, and soon, minutes turn into hours, and hours turn into days. Suddenly, with the school year approaching, Shah looks back in confusion. Engulfed in dread and regret, he wonders how months of empty hours—so ready to be used to improve himself—slipped away and went to waste.
“[I had a] huge amount of regret and self-hate of not doing all the things I wanted to do. I was just disappointed in myself,” Shah said.
When quarantine first began, Shah went in with high expectations for how he would improve himself academically and physically.
“We had a lot of extra time, so I basically started planning to do a bunch of stuff. I was going to start practicing [lacrosse] a lot more because sports had gotten cut off. I was also thinking about working out, studying a little bit more, and getting ready for the next academic year,” Shah said.
Initially, Shah was disciplined in working towards his goals. He practiced and worked out every day, while also learning new material on a regular basis. However, Shah says that by August, his schedule and motivations seemed to have disintegrated.
“When you’re having this long time period where there’s no definite end and the goal is very vague like ‘I just want to be better,’ then it’s easy to get lost,” Shah said. “You just fall off it and say, ‘Whatever, I still have a lot of time.’ But then, you never get back into it and it’s too late.”
Although he had a rigorous routine just a few months earlier, Shah began to spend entire days on electronics and social media. Meanwhile, his goals of self-improvement fell by the wayside.
“I didn’t change a whole lot in quarantine, which I think is the most disappointing thing. I wanted a lot of change to happen, but I’ve only changed as much as school-learning changes you,” Shah said. “Quarantine in itself, I don’t know if that changed me a whole lot. I think it just tested me, and personally, I think I failed.”
Despite these regrets, Shah believes that as the school year has progressed, he has been able to reach more of his goals due to better time management skills.
“I have been doing a lot more academic extracurricular activities, and I’ve been happy with those results,” Shah said. “I took some competitive Latin tests. I know one of [my results] and I did really well. I’m very happy about that and I studied hard for that.”