As we near the end of the first month of 2021, as well as the fourth week of lockdown, I feel it is worthwhile reflecting on what I have learned, what have I found hard to cope with and what I am thankful for as a struggling third year student in a pandemic.
Welcoming in the New Year was of course, a little different this time around. Restrictions meant that my housemates and I had to forgo dreams of hosting our last New Year’s Eve party at university and instead make do with a merry jaunt into town just the five of us. Equipped with thermal layers, a bottle of prosecco, and a speaker, we colonised a little concave on a bridge overlooking the River Ouse. This very quickly reminded me of the booths in Club Salvation which we once sat in as fresh-faced freshers, not knowing the Covid-chaos that awaited us. This time though, the music was better – my Spotify playlist formerly labelled “pre-drinks” had its time to shine again. Thankfully, the fireworks display did not disappoint when the clock struck twelve, and surrounded by these familiar smiling faces that helped me through some tough times over the last couple of years, I was reminded of a Pittacus Lore quote: “A place is only as good as the people in it.”.
Asides from slaving away tirelessly at my dissertation, (which feels much like walking up a flight of escalators that are coming down) I am trying not to spend money on the internet in an attempt to feel something. I made it one of my new year resolutions to become more mindful of where my money is going, aligning it with my values and beliefs. This has manifested itself in the form of my joining the trend of boycotting Amazon. I know for a lot of people, refusing to order from Amazon probably sounds too inconvenient to comprehend. But I have decided, if there is no positive social or environmental impact to my spending, it is no longer worth it!
So, although this month for the most part has been enjoyable, and I have made some new habits to be proud of, I would be lying if I said the short hours of daylight combined with being unable to venture 5 miles from home isn’t getting to me slightly. I have found myself in a bit of a rut this week, made worse by the barrage of videos I received yesterday on Whatsapp of our family’s 5-month old puppy experiencing her first snow day. I have noticed myself sinking into old behaviours that haven’t served me well in the past, as motivation starts to dwindle. Progressing through my young adult life I have come to develop solutions to such situations when they arise, recognising that these patterns of behaviour must be unlearned in order to survive, or rather, thrive as an adult. Instead of letting a negative thought take over me, I now immediately counteract it with a positive act such as watering plants, or even washing my hands.
If I have advice for anyone feeling the same, I would say never underestimate the power of moving your body and having an effective routine which should include not going on your phone for the first hour of the morning.
Author: Elle Jardine