Daily Life for Our Panthers Overseas


A curious child examines a museum artifact in China, where life is slowly returning back to normal in light of COVID-19 restrictions. (South China Morning Post)

Thomas Wan

My Trip to Shanxi (Thomas Wan)

Staying up late doesn’t feel great, especially staying up late every workday to attend classes through Zoom. This however, has been an ordinary part of my daily schedule since September. In March, my parents talked with me several times about going back to China. Then seeing Covid-19 cases rapidly multiplying in the US., my parents booked a flight for me at the end of March. I returned in a hurry, via the coastal city of Fuzhou, where I spent two weeks being quarantined in a Buddhist hotel. Afterwards, I returned to my home in Shanghai.

During the summer I got to meet with my old friends and relax by traveling to Shanxi. While most of the resorts and museums are open, they still require people to show QR codes from official platforms to prevent any insecurity. At the end of August, it was hard to realize that a new school year was coming, and I found myself cramming for the summer assignments.

For me, virtual learning last year was relatively relaxed, including a moderate amount of work and class time. Into the new school year, the tempo became much quicker, especially after many students returned to in-person learning, which means classes now spanned the entire period. It’s a great ease to be home again while schooling is not too demanding, except certain times like the AP test which made me stay up until 7AM (definitely a great experience). All of this combined with the increased amount of work in junior year, makes me very, very busy these days.

As an example, my current schedule often looks like something like:

12:00 (12:00 PM) Wake up, Eat Breakfast, Check Emails

13:00 – 13:30 (1:00 PM – 1:30 PM) Do School Work

14:00 – 15:00 (2:00 PM – 3:00 PM) Do Sports

15:30 – 18:00 (3:30 PM – 6:00 PM) Do Homework

18:00 (6:00 PM) Eat Dinner

18:40 – 20:30 (6:40 PM – 8:30 PM) Do School Work; Prepare for Classes

20:30 – 0:40  (8:30 PM – 12:40 AM) Schooling

0:40 – 2:00 (12:40 AM – 2:00 AM) Reading

2:30 – 12:00  (2:30 AM – 12:00 PM) Sleep

The schedule in reality fluctuates a lot as I might not be able to wake up by 12:00 and it’s always a venture to check time when I wake up. Theoretically I should have gotten quite enough sleep or even excessive sleep, but it always feels terrible waking up, as it feels like the days have become shorter.

Apart from schooling and most of the time when I just stay at home, COVID-19’s influence in daily life is still visible. Movie theaters have reopened, but people can’t take items like popcorn and cokes in; shopping malls, bookstores, arcades have similarly gradually reopened, with suggestions for wearing masks. Therefore, despite life continuing to change, we can still enjoy some of the daily activities that we once took for granted.