Personal Reflections During A Pandemic

Your VP Welfare, Vinny, shares his personal reflections as a graduate of the COVID-19 year.

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Mental health has been at the forefront of every conversation in the past year. There is nothing that the students of our generation have not witnessed yet. In the span of 2 years, we have had to be adaptable, robust and willing to change our plans at the very last minute. We’ve missed birthdays, weddings, births, deaths, holidays, and much more. As University Mental Health Day approaches us, these are my personal reflections as a graduate of COVID-19:

1. Being Alone Can Suck And Be Great At The Same Time.

Pre-lockdown, my idea of a perfect weekend involved candles, a novel and whichever weather was in season. I used to enjoy this because it was the only time, I had time to myself without the outside world. And then the interesting books ran out, Netflix was getting predictable, and the Zoom activities became a pain. Don’t get me wrong. There are still weekends that I still read my novels during lockdown. But for the most part, I miss physical interactions with people and the hugs that come with it. As a young adult, I find myself constantly battling with the fact that the one thing that made me the happiest can now turn into my worst enemy.

2. Productivity Is a Myth.

Knitting, sewing, baking and fitness achievements cloud my Instagram account. Social media has an interesting way of making you believe that you are not doing enough with your time. I don’t want to bake a cake or knit another sweater. I’ve come to the realisation that surviving this pandemic has been the most productive thing I have done. Every day, I’m telling myself that I’m doing a fantastic job because being able to wake up in the morning and carry on is productivity itself. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the person on your feed is better than you. They’re not. You are better for being kinder to yourself.

3. I Learnt That I Could Survive Anything

I don’t know about you, but nothing shocks me these days. Nothing. When COVID-19 spread, I was scared. I didn’t know how it spread, why it spread and why it was taking so many lives. Looking at it now, we have become stronger. It’s scary to fight a battle knowing that you can become an easy casualty. We were faced with something we didn’t know, and I think that is preparing us to be better at handling an uncertain future. Years from now, we’ll look back and think, “If I survived that, I can definitely survive this”.

4. I Learnt To Live With Myself

Solitude is one of the greatest life lessons you will ever learn. You learn what type of person you’ve become, and the type of person you want to be. It’s an immense time of personal reflection. Without the external noise of the outer world, you are forced to re-evaluate your priorities, missions and goals in life. I’ve had to think about a lot of the decisions I’ve made in life, and how valuable my friends have been throughout this whole thing. I’ve also decided that I truly don’t have any regrets in my life because if I did, I wouldn’t be right here, speaking to you, doing a job that I love

5. Everything is Going To be Okay.

Sappy, I know! With the announcement of the road map, everyone is buzzing to see the end of this lockdown. As the end is near, and we get to hug our loved ones, and see our friends again, and reunite, let us never forget those who have helped us make it through. Let’s not forget the lives that have been lost and the lives that have been put at risk. Most importantly, never forget how brave and strong you were to have lived through it all.

The Uni’s Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service (SWIS) support students with anything effecting their wellbeing or mental health. They run drop-in sessions and can refer you to free services such as counselling. Further information on our service can be found here. You can request contact via telephone or Zoom by completing this form

SU Advice are here to help give you free, confidential, independent and impartial advice on lots of issues – book an appointment by emailing or drop in on the social hour on Zoom every Tuesday and Thursday 2-3pm (Zoom ID 565-702-6431).


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