‘Do something with your quarantine’- but what? – Introducing aaronmoniz.com

Categories : Reflection

The first seven months of my time at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University were the most difficult of my academic career by far. By early March, though, I felt that I had navigated the worst of it, and could look forward to the summer business internship I had earned.

I was right about the first part; on March 13th, 2020, it was announced that both my universities would move online due to COVID-19, making the term significantly easier to complete.

I was initially quietly optimistic about quarantine; Canada had just 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the time (CTV), and moving inside would save lives in a few weeks before summer as normal. Quarantine would also allow me the opportunity to recover from the burnout that I was experiencing by March, and prepare for my work term, which was to start in May.

It is safe to say that I vastly underestimated the consequences of COVID-19 and the resulting quarantine.  Now, two months later, Canada has over 85,000 confirmed cases of the virus and over 6,000 deaths. The Conference Board of Canada reported over 2 million Canadian jobs lost by May 8th, and a staggering 13.0% unemployment rate in Canada, more than double the 5.7% reported by Statista in 2019.

Unfortunately, my job cancellation occurred 12 days before the beginning of the originally scheduled start date of Waterloo’s Spring 2020 term, and 19 days before the revised start date. In other words, I had around two weeks to restructure and organize my summer.

I was forced to reflect upon what I really wanted to do, with 35+ spare hours created for me each week and a blank canvas of pandemic plans.

My first realization was relatively superficial; I need money to pay for my second year. Next, I realized that I do not really know where my future lies, other than under the massive umbrella of Mathematics and Business. I want to explore my interests and rejuvenate my passion for writing.

Immediately, I sought after work, and within two weeks, I had two jobs for the summer. The University of Waterloo hired 300 students to help deliver the first 100%-online term ever, and I was lucky enough to be one of them. There, I will be creating content in what could be the first of likely many terms where courses will be at least partially be online.

In addition, I was given the opportunity to continue part-time office work at Josef Gases, after spending the last two summers there.

Excited by the opportunity to work, I am also going to learn as much as I can online about the fields of data analytics, finance, and business, continuing my self-exploration by completing different courses and projects. Combining them with my writing experience, I want to detail all the different events that fill my summer, look back upon this experience, and reflect upon what I learned.

I created aaronmoniz.com to be a place where people can read about my progress and find inspiration for activities of their own. My current knowledge only scrapes the surface of the fields listed above, and anyone reading this can do what I will do this summer.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I never want to feel as burnt out as I did in March. I want to learn to work harder than ever before, but just as importantly, to relax, to be able to stop working in the short term and to preserve my mind and body for the long term.

That idea reminded me of this tweet that I am not a fan of:

The post reads:

“If you don’t come out of this quarantine with either:

1.) a new skill

2.) starting what you’ve been putting off like a new business

3.) more knowledge

You didn’t ever lack the time, you lacked the discipline”

With a plethora of issues facing people worldwide, this is insensitive to those who cannot afford, do not have the health, or simply cannot bring themselves to focus on career and academics right now.

You shouldn’t feel guilty in the slightest if you aren’t at your quarantine best. But I want to encourage you to do *something* to pass your time.

If that *something* is learning a new skill or starting something new, that’s fantastic. If it’s exercising, reading books or finishing The Last Dance and Tiger King on Netflix, that’s also perfect. Bond with the people you live with, and phone faraway loved ones. Find something you want to do or enjoy doing.

COVID-19 has proven to be a time of self-discovery for myself. I have learned that I love to cook, and that physical activity is crucial during the day if I want to to sleep at night. I have learned that I live for productivity, learning, and my family and friends, and that nothing will stop me from making progress towards being a kinder, smarter, and happier person.

I wish only the best to everyone; continue to do things that help you grow and cultivate your interests, no matter what they are.

And most importantly of all, please stay safe.

You can contact me at aaron.moniz@uwaterloo.ca or on LinkedIn