The COVID-19 pandemic has had both direct and indirect effects on our lives. For some, the consequences of this virus have been far more devastating than others. We have seen people get laid off work, people’s families break but worst of it all, there have been thousands of deaths across the world.
As lockdown measures were put in place, for most people it was somewhat of a mini-holiday (when we assumed it wouldn’t last 3+ months). The schools that were unprepared basically let off their students on an unknown holiday while those in the working class got the leisure of carrying out their duties from home, most of whom are now able to enjoy added hours of sleep or time spent with family. My situation was a little bit different, I am privileged enough to be studying in a country where educational institutions already had the measures in place for online learning, it was just a matter of deciding when and how to use them. Additionally, lockdown measures came in place just before the Easter break and so the transition although difficult wasn’t too bad.
Being a final year student, I never had the luxury of the usual long rest like in previous years neither did I have such a dramatic change in activities. I had deadlines that were set for the end of April and throughout the entire month of May and so I was extremely busy. I did take breaks, but the expected ones, to eat, sleep, speak to a few people e.t.c. My head was still focussed on one thing; completing my studies. I never got to experience the full effects of the lockdown measures as I was already going to be locked in doors completing my assignments.
June 8th 2020. That’s the day I handed in my final assignment. It was an exhilarating moment. 11 weeks of intense pressure due to the pandemic and a total of 3 years of the entire degree had finally come to an end. It was unbelievable… and then it wasn’t. My mind immediately shifted towards ” Okay… what’s next? Should I apply for a job? Should I do my masters? Masters in what though seeing as I’ve done my undergraduate in two subjects?” The questions all came flooding in, building up immense pressure within me, I felt locked in. I was literally drowning in my thoughts but no one would guess it because on the outside I never appear to show much emotion.
This confusion may be because throughout my entire education experience, particularly high school and primary, we barely had enough recreational time. We were either always completing assignments or in school for extra classes. Its so ingrained in me that I should always be busy, always moving… It almost feels illegal to take some time off to rest.
‘An idle mind…’
The issue is without proper rest any work done is likely sub-par and completed without proper appreciation of the process. In as much as most times our goal is to reach the end result, it is the things we learn and pick up along the way that build us and help us improve our character. This is an issue that Laura addressed in last week’s post which can be found below : Chapter 6: Lockdown Chronicles Part I: Delayed Gratification.
You don’t have to see the light at the end of the tunnel for you to know it’s there. Appreciate the beauty or even just the existence of the tunnel itself. Maybe, just maybe, you will realise that the tunnel is part of the light.
As I read (and edited) her post, it really got me thinking about my own life particularly the situation that I am in at the moment. I’ve lived my entire life knowing the next step, not in its exact form, but I always knew what was next. Everything is different now, maybe made worse by the pandemic that we currently face. I have no idea what’s next or what will come. I cannot say where I’ll be in the next month or three, it’s all a blur and it’s all scary. Over the last few weeks, I’ve spent 90% of my time searching for the light at the end of the tunnel, yet I’m not even in the ‘tunnel‘ (I haven’t received my final grades). I’m missing out on good moments because I am stressed about the unknown.
I made a promise to myself, that I will enjoy the process, whether it’s clear or not. I will take the time to rest not only because I deserve it but because I can. I need to learn to not be so hard on myself out of irrational fear. I’m learning how to let go of my controlling tendencies and maybe just maybe things will fall into place.
If this post has inspired you to write, feel free to share your story by emailing me on firstname.lastname@example.org