Finishing the academic year in isolation
I submitted my last assignment last week, bring to an end my second year at university. It was underwhelming, considering that I couldn’t go out and celebrate. Instead, I finally vacuumed my room after 2 months of hibernation and binge-watched the Netflix show I’d been waiting to see.
Now that the academic year is over for me, I’ve been doing all that I can to avoid the feeling of being cut loose. Before exam season began I’d been very much in my own head and anxious, what with the lockdown and not having as much university work to do over Easter vacation. When third term began the amount of work I suddenly had to do distracted me from that.
I’ve set out a plan to keep myself busy over the next two months, including working on personal projects that I didn’t have time to do during term time. I’ve restarted properly learning Korean, I’ve been writing a novel, and I’ve also purchased an online TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course. Since I can’t do an internship this summer, I’d rather use the time to gain a qualification that can open up another potential career route when I graduate. Learning something that is completely new to me has been really enjoyable, and I’d highly recommend using this summer to work on a new skill or gain some new knowledge, especially since it’s difficult to find time during term time.
But at the same time, it’s been easy for me to get anxious during this time, especially as I’m someone who finds it difficult to go with the flow. Having the academic year cut short and changed in this way has been unsettling for my routine.
A lot of my friends have finished their degrees quietly, without celebration, and the same goes for those of you who have finished up your time in school far sooner than expected. Closing one chapter of your life and moving onto another during a pandemic isn’t ideal, but don’t feel that your achievements are invisible.
It probably falls far short of a real graduation ceremony, but a group of celebrities and influential people including Beyoncé and the Obamas united on a YouTube live-stream to celebrate the class of 2020. You can watch the full replay here:
Not to be the unfailing kpop fan, but BTS had a little commencement-like speech and they had some very important and relevant things to say that may be of comfort to you:
“Back then, the notion of becoming an adult was something quite scary. Anxious about making my way into an unfamiliar world, I was cautious of everything I said or did. Sometimes, I’d feel restless, watching my friends go on far ahead of me. And attempting to keep up with their speed would only leave me breathless. I soon realised that their pace was not my own. What held me together during those times was a promise I made with myself: ‘to take it slow.’ I’d go at my own pace, steadily.” – BTS Jin.
I hope you’re all doing okay, and I hope that you can have some hope for the future. All is not lost 🙂