To anyone that is currently affected by the pandemic, whether it be through feelings of anxiety and uncertainty about the future; feeling unwell or by feeling bereaved due to a loss, just know that you are not alone. Though we are more isolated than ever, we are also more united than ever. This experience is a collective one. It is a shared one, as we all can relate to each other one way or another. Globally. I hope that by reading this article, my words are able to feel like a hug to you and that they comfort you during this unprecedented time. Also, I wish upon you good health, peace of mind and strength during this tough time.
I am hopeful that we will be able to overcome this struggle. I am hopeful that we will reflect on this experience and view the outcome of this hardship as one that has developed our sense of courage and resilience. I want you, as the reader, to internalise this idea that we, as humans, are not burdened beyond what we can bear. I mean, we have survived all of our hardest days, right? I am firm that we will be able to survive this storm, too. I don’t mean to say this in a dismissive manner at all. Of course, this period in our lives is not the best one. This situation is not ideal at all. Most days in this lockdown has proven to be very difficult. However, in the words of J.Cole in his song ‘Love Yourz’, he made a profound line which I am learning to embrace. He said, “there’s beauty in the struggle, ugliness in the success”. Perhaps now, most of us have more time for ourselves and for those that we live with. Perhaps now, we have an abundance of free time, something that we severely lacked in our normal lives. Perhaps, now, we can find solace in the calm. This could be the beauty in our struggles. Hopefully, this dose of optimism will help us get past this struggle. But, I ask of you to please not give up. Please promise me this? I am hopeful that we will get past this.
Changes to life goals and plans
This was almost the immediate impact seen from this lockdown.
During this phase of my isolation, I’d say that people were beginning to form, what I call, a social pressure lockdown. This is a more informal and indirect way of enforcing the lockdown – and this was fuelled by both the media (social and traditional media) as well as by my surroundings (through events being cancelled etc.) Therefore, I had begun my lockdown about a week or so before the official government order. My screen time had begun to increase dramatically as everything transitioned online. It was unexpected, however, I adjusted to this change fairly quickly.
I had to unlearn the idea that my worth was solely tied to my productivity. I had to come to the realisation that, I am a human being, not a human doing. What that means to me, is that I had to come to the realisation that I have inherent worth. I am worthy simply because I am a human. This lockdown has allowed me to embrace the art of just existing. It taught me to view productivity in a whole new light. I began to view rest as productive. I began to view recovery as productive. I learnt this by watching my body undertake a magical experience of trying to heal.
In the beginning of my lockdown, I began to develop the symptoms of the Coronavirus. I had developed a persistent cough, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, and vomiting. Therefore, this period was very worrying for me. What did not help was that initially, I was in denial. Even though I felt really ill, I did not think that I had the virus. I was under the assumption that I had a simple cold/chest infection. It was only when I called my doctor, and he gave me the standard procedure of self-isolation, that I had come to terms with the fact that these symptoms were real.
I self-isolated, and this was an experience within itself. It took me roughly 14 days to get better. I was fortunate enough to have had a speedy recovery.
Thus, I am eternally thankful for having good health. Good health was something that I previously took for granted. But now, health is a gift that I must cherish.
I think that death was a very persistent, yet new theme for me in this lockdown. I have been fortunate enough to not experience grief due to this pandemic, first hand. However, I have been a witness to the harsh realities of this pandemic. This pandemic has had a deep and direct impact on the lives of my friend’s and their families. This is what has made me come to terms with the severity of this situation. A small number of my friends have lost their parents, grandparents and siblings to this pandemic. Witnessing this was a surreal experience for me.
My task was to offer a listening ear to my friends. To send them my deepest and dearest condolences. To form my words in a way that felt like a hug to them, in a way that felt like support for them – as I could not be there to support them physically. Unfortunately, for most people that I know, they, themselves, did not have the opportunity to say their goodbyes either. I think that this is a painful reality for them, and for most people. I cannot begin to fathom the difficulty that this situation brings, but I also deeply empathise with everyone.
Therefore, I wish upon everyone that has been deeply impacted by a loss – healing, love and support during this tough time.
Loss of motivation and structure
Thankfully, my university has made some helpful adjustments. First, that the process of filling in the mitigating/extenuating circumstances form has been simplified. The acknowledgement that this pandemic would have a significant impact on one’s academic performance felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders.
Secondly, my university implemented a policy known as the ‘no detriment policy’. This policy, in short, protects the grades of every student, ensuring that they cannot receive grades lower than their usual performance, but they can achieve higher marks in their studies. This policy occurred due to student pressure, so if your university has still put this in place, create a petition on change.org – and pressure your university. This policy is incredibly important!
Now that the adjustments have been made, it is time to work. But this time, at the pace that you feel most comfortable with. It is normal to lose motivation during this period, however, through the art of self-discipline, you will be able to accomplish the tasks that you desire to complete. But, at the same time, do not be harsh on yourself for not performing to the best of your ability. Remember, we are in unprecedented times, and so our whole lives have completely re-shifted. Your feelings are valid and so, embrace them ☺ In essence, YOU GOT THIS!!!!