The effects of the abrupt changes have been drastic on both my college life and personal life, which have become one at this point. Between the stress of moving off campus in such a hurry, the stress of online schooling and the stress of the pandemic at large has created a lot more anxiety for me as well as physical symptoms of stress, such as trouble sleeping and increased bodily pain.
I don’t know if this is coping as much as being forced to maintain a sense of normality, but I’ve created a routine for myself to mimic my routine at school and to ensure that my schoolwork gets done. But that also has zapped me of what little energy I have, so my schoolwork is the only thing that gets done in the course of the day and at a much slower speed than I am used to. Because of the little energy I have being dedicated to my schoolwork, I have had little energy left to go outside, practice creative endeavors or unpack my belongings from my dorm. The inability to do these other things that I feel I need to do or just enjoy doing has left me feeling upset and frustrated that I don’t have more energy or time to just get everything done. But I’m trying to remind myself that productivity is not the most important thing in a pandemic, and I’m counting down the days until classes are finished and the weather is warm so I can start trying to feel like myself again.
Luckily my family and I haven’t had any major issues, but I am starting to feel the effects of not having any personal time or space in our small house. Especially with the extra snow we’ve had this month making it not possible to go outside, I’m starting to go a little crazy not being able to leave the house even to just sit outside or walk around my yard.
My message to others is to stop trying to be productive and stop beating yourself up if you’re not. The most important thing I’ve discovered is that this is unprecedented and no one knows more than anyone else. Everybody is coping in their own ways, and holding each other to the same standards as before is unrealistic. Find something, anything that brings you any bit of joy. It can be a new hobby or lounging around, but don’t place expectations on others or yourself for how you think you or others should be coping. And that includes expecting people to work and be productive during a global pandemic.