Lessons from Quarantine
Lessons from Quarantine
  • Reporter Lee Seung-Joo
  • 승인 2020.11.27 14:51
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Since freshmen, I have enjoyed getting involved. I filled my everyday schedule with all sorts of activities. Hanging out with friends, club activities, internships, and etc. were always of high priority. 
For me, POSTECH was a spectrum of endless experiences. As a true experience-centered being, I could not help but join numerous school clubs, enroll for every interesting lecture, and participate in literally every school event possible. Late-night movies in the theater, hanging out with friends, and even studying up late for exams in the library was fun. Naturally, my weekends were always loaded with schedules, and I ended up never visiting home during semesters. The same followed for summer and winter vacations. POSTECH offered its students various internships, research opportunities, and other programs during the holidays. I never skipped a single opportunity and managed to always stay busy. Many did not understand me and worried that I would “burn-out”, but I could not understand them either. We only had four years. Why rest when we can do? And COVID-19 happened.
Even at the very moment COVID-19 had struck, I was out in Singapore with The Postech Times for an interview with a professor. If COVID-19 had not happened, I would have returned to Seoul and headed back to Pohang the very next day for club practices, stayed for the freshmen orientation, and started off my junior year, as usual. But due to the severity of the disease, all activities were postponed, the semester started online, and I was left to stay home. 
At first, I hated every moment of quarantine. I had appointments, important meetings, and other activities to partake in, but the virus simply took them all away from me, leaving me to strike off various plans off my scheduler. However, as time passed, I began to realize that despite all the achievements, I was ultimately at loss during my university years. 
During the past two years, my heart was never at home. All this time spent elsewhere, I forgot what home felt like. The sweet and nostalgic scent of home, warm welcoming family, and the mundaneness of everyday life were all absent till COVID-19. I realized I had traded this value and love of the usualness with my family— going out on family dinners, late-night family movie days, silly conversations about how the day has been for each one of us, random walks to get coffee—for my immediate whims to try something new. I was left out of most family events. No longer was I a part of my family’s everyday life, but a guest to soon return to a separate life. “Live like a greedy algorithm,” a professor claimed recently. I laughed at this joke to an agreement. Indeed, till COVID-19, I lived in full accordance with this algorithm that pursues the immediate benefit of each move. But is this what I wanted? I was not so sure anymore. 
So, I stayed home. I hardly went out, despite many people’s beliefs. I went to buy groceries with my mom, joined my dad in his regular visit to his favorite bakery, stayed up till 3 A.M. to watch Netflix with my sister, and cuddled with my dog. It was indeed mundane, but it was good. These small but fully happy moments filled up my life. I was home. I realized that I longed to belong more than I ever knew and that my family was always there, rooting for all my adventures, but also missing me the most. COVID-19 was indeed the worst, but the opportunity and realization it has given me was most worthy of 2020. 
Living to seek adventures and tackling every possible opportunity are good. I do not regret this way of life and will continue to pursue this. However, take time to step aside and pay attention to what you may be missing out on. 


Reporter Lee Seung-joo