How I Deal With Lockdowns (As An International Student)

Updated: Jul 16, 2021

Photo by Yasmina H on Unsplash

It was just over a year ago that Covid-19, or the coronavirus as it was called, then became something of significance. It began as a novel, unknown disease in Wuhan, China, and quickly spread all around the globe. Before we know it, all our favorite stores, shopping centers, and coffee are closed down. Thanks to Vietnam’s quarantine and mask mandate, the reach of the pandemic was temporarily suspended in the S-shaped country. Nevertheless, with the sudden increase in Covid-19 cases in almost every major city right now, the possibility of a full-on lockdown seems not so far-fetched anymore.

As an international student, well, I have been accustomed to total lockdown for a while now. Besides the obvious of not having the usual luxury of hanging out with friends or going to a movie theater, what seems to hit me the hardest is online learning or “distance learning,” as they call it here in my school.

It started out great, real great, too great if I can say so. No more waking up at ungodly hours to run to class, I can just use my laptop; no more uncomfortable uniforms, a hoodie, and (when I’m too lazy to comb my hair) a cap would do just fine. School seems to narrow itself down to a laptop and my table, and for a while, it was perfect! I can do my homework, work on projects and go to classes in the comfort of my bedroom.

Well, it was good until it wasn’t.

My grades began to suffer, real bad. I became lazier and gradually lost all my motivation to continue working hard. After all, I thought, aren’t we all in a pandemic - surely, surely everyone must be in the same boat. Oh boy, did I have a good wake-up call.

I remember sitting on my bed - barely watching the lecture while eating a granola bar at the same time, all the usual stuff, when I received an email saying that my first term Math test has come back. And with it, a good 40%.

I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it - and it was not the last one. All my grades took a steep nosedive with a trajectory of the y-axis in a 2D plane with its range limit aiming at the coveted 0. I knew I had to make some changes, and I am so glad that I did! Here are a few things that helped me turn my grades around and somehow - still get into the college of my choice.

1) Do not use your bed unless you’re sleeping


I know it’s very tempting to lie on your bed and go to class at the same time, but do NOT do it. By working and chilling on your bed at the same time, you’ll find it harder to have the motivation to work as we are so used to using our beds as a designated place to sleep. Therefore, you will find it much more challenging to concentrate on the materials that you’re learning and, after a while, find it harder to fall asleep too since bed can now become a place associated with the stress from school or project’s work.


Even though you’re probably stuck in your room the whole day, the worst thing you can do is sit around doing nothing. So sit up, do push-ups, jump, dance, box the air, any physical activities in this trying time is crucial! Regular exercise will help you become much more alert and help you release the stress from the pandemic and school works; they are an invaluable way to help strengthen your health and replenish your energy.


3) Meditate

This has helped me sleep through massive anxiety attacks. Now, I meditate every night before I go to sleep and every day after I wake up - and it doesn’t have to belong: only 1 minute of meditation can work wonders and help you fall asleep or begin a day fresh!


4) Don’t go too hard on yourself

As someone who wants to always push to reach new heights, to always be the best I can be, this was the hardest thing that I have to learn. Just like learning to always try your hardest is crucial for success, so is the ability to accept and be happy with where you are now. At the end of the day, it is all about the journey - whether you gave it your all and not the destination that truly helps us grow. It is very easy to feel like you did not do enough to prepare you for some goals that you want to achieve, especially when you’re stuck in a room. Still, oftentimes many of us fail to realize the many accomplishments that we have achieved and lessons we have learned in the process.


So there you have it - the general guidelines that I applied and ( successfully !) turned both my academic level around and brought my mental health back to a positive net value. Truth be told, I often have to remind myself to continue following these rules - they’re undoubtedly hard but also very, very worth it in the end.