Adapting to Change: How the Pandemic Transformed My University and Life Experience

Hsuan Chen
Graduate Institute of European Cultures and Tourism

The outbreak of the epidemic has had a significant impact on people’s lives worldwide. Every country went through economic hardship, people have gone through mental health challenges, some encounter disruption of education, and some faced social isolation. And me my self initially faced sudden change in lifestyle that was difficult to adapt to, and the uncertainty surrounding the situation caused me anxiety and stress. However, over time, I have realized it is a double-edged sword

On the negative side, firstly is that due to the fact that the campus remained closed during the pandemic, I wasn’t able to enjoy my campus life. I feel very frustrated that all of a sudden my routine was changed. I live about 15 minutes away from NTNU, and what I really enjoy is to bike to NTNU along the area before classes started. NTNU locates near many greenery and beautiful old Japanese houses, and it is always nice to have a walk around and have a coffee in hand, space out at the serene campus in front the Roman pillars, which in my opinion the most beautiful spot around campus. My faculty, GIECT, locates there as well. Before the pandemic, I used to go to study room there, where all the graduate student from the faculty can go and study. I have always enjoyed studying with my classmates. Not only do I feel more engaged, but it also helps me to keep motivated and focused on my goals. Moreover, studying with classmates allows me to exchange ideas with each other and share different perspectives, and therefore, lead to more in-depth discussions and a deeper understanding of the material in class. However, I wouldn’t able to enjoy this since all the classes were then changed to online courses. And this is the second difficulty I faced, I wasn’t able to stay motivated and productive while studying from home. Sometimes I would just lay in bed for hours and go on Instragram, Youtube or other social media aimlessly. Thirdly is that one of my favorite classes from GIECT, Professors Lai’s Museum studies, wasn’t able to continue the same way. Before pandemic would take us on field trips and do some off campus learning. Due to the pandemic, everything was closed, we then aren’t able to meet in person and go on museums or galleries, I found it very pity.

time management

On the other hand, the epidemic has forced me to slow down and appreciate the little things in life. First is that, I feel the personal growth inside me. I was able to take up new hobbies, such as cooking and reading. I used to be a very outgoing person, that I can never spend time alone and be an introvert. Gradually, I learn to be alone, which I find very awesome. Secondly, With the lockdowns and restrictions in place, I had more time to spend with my flatmates. We would work and study together at the living room, spend some time in front of the TV and make dinner together. Before covid, we are always out and didn’t really spend some flatmate-time. We then truly bonded during the pandemic, and we never felt lonely again. Thirdly, even though I feel very frustrated and demotivated with learning in the beginning, after a while I learn to adjust to the situation. I also found advantages in learning during the epidemic, such as the increased availability of online courses and webinars, which allowed me to enhance my knowledge and skills from the comfort of traditional classroom learning. I then, developed important skills such as time management and self-motivation. That till today I feel very useful. Even though we can’t go on field trips for Professors Lai’s class, she would send us many useful links and videos that we can still be updated with the world of museums. Due to the pandemic there are many museums starting doing virtual tours, which in class Professor Lai would keep us updated and stay connected to the world. And it still keeps my sparks in learning although I can’t physically be there. And I also realized the fact that learning should be anytime and anywhere. It gives me the mentality that nothing should stop me from learning.

In conclusion, there is no denying that the pandemic hit us hard in every aspect of life. Our lives have changed so much due to the new habits of wearing masks, being in isolation, and feeling anxious. Although there have been challenges and difficulties, I then also understand the fact that we all are learning to be alone together, and what I have benefit from this is that I learn so much from pandemic: learn to be alone, self-motivation, time management, and online learning. I am glad that it has brought me positive changes and opportunities for personal growth and development.