Getting through term while (figuratively) losing my brain cells…
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new year, it’s a new term! Yay! *insert excited squeals here*
Or, so I would like to have you believe.
In reality, however, the only thing that’s really changed is the date that I write on my journal everyday. Online learning, in theory, is an extremely fun and exciting prospect: imagine not even having to roll out of bed to attend your 9 ams? “SIGN ME UP”, second-year me would have said. In practice, however, it takes a toll. If you’ve been through the past term, you know what I’m talking about; if not, you might want to take a seat for this one, and brace yourself.
Although most of term 1 was online for me, there were some aspects that allowed me to interact with my peers and forced me to get out of my boxers (trust me, if it was summer I would have rolled into my seminars in my boxers; alas..). They re-introduced me to things I took for granted as the mundane necessary realities of everyday life as a student: waking up early, prepping a meal to-go, rushing to make it to the bus on the Parade, walking around campus and so on. Though everyone was in a mask, it still was reminiscent of the times when we could roam the earth without a significant risk of contracting a life-threatening disease.
Though everyone was in a mask, it still was reminiscent of the times when we could roam the earth without a significant risk of contracting a life-threatening disease.
Term 2, however, has been a different story. With the onset of Lockdown 3.0, the limited level of interactions that we had with our peers and tutors is no longer there. I do understand the necessity of this move, but it doesn’t make it any better for one’s mental health. In November, at least there was a compelling reason to step out of the house; without that, it’s dangerously easy to keep yourself limited to the confines of your room/house, without a breath of fresh air, a change of scene, a space to clear your thoughts that every human being needs.
It’s evident, at least to me, how much I thrive on these ‘essentials’ (yes, these abstract moments are as essential as the toilet roll you’re about to run out of). The onset of a multitude of online lectures feels like an insurmountable ocean of content that I want to absorb, but don’t have the time (or the energy) to do so. This lack of energy easily pervades into the other things that afford me some mental clarity; this is the first article I’ve attempted to write in three weeks, my posts on my blog (once a mental de-stress for me) have become sporadic, and I feel my creative interests weigh in on me like a burden rather than an outlet.
To make a long story short, it boils down to one thing: not having the mental energy to sustain yourself and do the things that you really, really want to do.
It boils down to not having the mental energy to sustain yourself and do the things that you really, really want to do. It feels similar to ‘losing my brain cells’ (in a figurative sense).
This process feels similar to ‘losing my brain cells’ (in a figurative sense): I just find myself in a daze, many times throughout the day, forgetting my train of thought when I start to write/create something, academically or otherwise. I’m sure you all are familiar with the feeling: if not, I’m amazed and I salute you. You’ve really nailed this online learning thing.
Well, the point of this semi-rant about the struggles of online learning was to communicate one important thing, which (I’d like to believe) is something I’ve been stressing on for a while now. Please make the time to do the little things for yourself. You are human, after all; your mind would really enjoy going for a walk, just for the sake of it (not just for groceries).Reach out to your friends and host a virtual social (cause lockdown); even if it is through a screen, seeing your friends can boost your morale significantly. If you can’t think of anyone to buzz, give me a call: I’d love to make your acquaintance!
Please make the time to do the little things for yourself. You are human, after all; your mind would really enjoy going for a walk, just for the sake of it (not just for groceries).
Maybe this post was also a message to myself, to remind myself to do the very things I’m reminding you to do as well. Work is not all there is to do at university. There is so much more to education than just navigating through classes and assignments; it involves getting to know oneself, and give oneself the care one needs. I’m still learning, and I invite you to learn with me too. What say? Schedule a Teams call?