This year has seen some massive changes in the workings of society in general. From stay-at-home orders to wearing masks, the closure of schools and business to ongoing travel bans, 2020 has been a wild ride.
The COVID-19 pandemic has required certain changes, prohibitions, and sacrifices in our daily lives that seemed like they came out of nowhere. But did they? Perhaps choice has been taken out of the equation, but it might be that we’re only now more reliant on things that used to be optional. We may, in fact, have been choosing to self-isolate in many aspects of our lives, long before the first outbreak hit.
One of the biggest changes we’ve seen is in the realm of education. In many places around the world, both primary schools and institutions of higher education have opted to administer most (if not all) of their courses entirely online.
Colleges and universities have seen an outpouring of anguish from frustrated students, angry not to have the traditional residential college experience during this pivotal point in their lives. Meanwhile, some institutions try to look on the bright side of remote learning and see the benefits of remote learning over the traditional experience.
But remote/distance/online learning is nothing new. Whatever you chose to call it, this form of education has been around for about 170 years. That’s right. Even before technology enabled us to have instantaneous conversations with educators from afar, correspondence courses allowed students to complete a degree by mail. Online education is simply a successor to this earlier model.
It’s no secret that technology has made our lives easier in a multitude of ways. From the ease of communication to the wonders of the internet, online shopping to telemedicine, we’ve all taken steps to ease the burdens of our daily lives by letting technology take a bit of the load.
Entertainment has been more important for people stuck at home than ever before. The rise in online board games, video gaming, mobile gaming, and online gambling is staggering. The stress of the unknown mixed with financial and personal uncertainties is certainly a recipe for escapism.
The upswing of online gambling and sports betting caught the attention of regulators, however, who seized on an opportunity to crack down on operators. Because of this, laws had to be put in place to regulate or prohibit online gambling. Unfortunately for us, many chose prohibition.
As we’ve all learned the hard way, this full-on, government-mandated self-isolation is far more taxing than how we were choosing to self-isolate before. Gambling is a fun, entertaining way to blow off some steam and yet, tragically, these more stringent laws came down hard on online gambling while we’re already having a rough time. Bummer.
Online shopping & grocery delivery
Some people blame Amazon for the downfall of malls and shopping centers around the world but during this year’s pandemic situation, many of us have been thanking our lucky stars for home delivery of products we need to use on a daily basis.
Long before the COVID-19 outbreak changed our lives, our shopping and buying habits had already started to make the switch. Online shopping grew by leaps and bounds since the advent of the internet and the launch of Amazon in 1991.
Online shopping has revolutionized how people get their goods and is a safe and convenient way to do so from the comfort of your own home. Despite some shipping delays and frequent out-of-stock messages, we’ve still been able to get the things we need while keeping our social distance.
Why go to the doctor’s office if you can have the doctor come to you?
To be fair, this isn’t a new idea. It is a pre-COVID idea, but like… 200 years pre-COVID. In the olden days, doctors used to roam around more rural areas, making housecalls for patients that were too ill to hop on a horse and ride into town. Housecalls are still very much a thing today, however, technology has allowed them to morph into something a bit more solitary.
Now, instead of having a doctor come to your home, you can video conference with your doctor online. Telemedicine has been a popular choice for house-bound patients to get prescription refills, specialist referrals, or psychiatric therapy for years and now, it’s becoming a popular way to keep your social distance, while still receiving medical care.
Choice and perspective
It’s probably no secret that humans are generally happier to make significant changes in their lives if those changes are a result of their own choices. During the COVID-19 pandemic this year, we’ve all had to make drastic changes to our lives, our routines, and our future plans that definitely weren’t up to us.
Prior to the pandemic, however, these same changes may not have seemed like a big deal at all. In fact, they seemed rather convenient. Before the mandates, we did actually choose to isolate ourselves in certain aspects of our lives. Perhaps, it’s all about perspective.