Guest blog by Jayanti Jerath.
The past five months have not been going well for the entire planet. The whole world is fighting a pandemic. The number of cases and the number of deaths increases hour by hour. Initially, I watched the daily updates from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s briefings or even Cuomo Prime Time on CNN. Watching too much of the news and these statistical numbers made me feel anxious though, and I eventually stopped watching, but I still receive updates through the notifications on my phone.
Lockdowns have caused educational institutions to close and shift to online learning. Many first-year university students would agree with me that adjusting to university life takes time since there are many differences between high school and post-secondary education. Personally, for me it was a little challenging to adapt to online classes because commuting to university had become a routine.
Being a first-year university student and spending twelve hours during the weekdays to commute, my day would start by waking up at 7am and often I wouldn’t come back home until around 4pm, or even 5pm. It was tough to find the motivation to complete the assignments at home since whenever I was on campus and didn’t have any classes, I would complete my work in the library. I found that by making new routines and creating a ‘tasks to complete’ list every night for the next day, I was more organized and could focus both on my studies and my mental health.
Everything is so different now; my wake time and sleep time are different. I try my best to get seven to eight hours of sleep, but sometimes it is not possible because of the constant thinking that the mind does. Not only have lectures and exams moved online, but even friendships are largely online these days, thanks to the internet and social media. Whenever my friends are feeling down, I remind them to be grateful because we are lucky. There are many children and young adults who are continuously facing violence and starvation in many vulnerable countries.
I finished my final exam last week, and I can’t believe that I am done first year of university; it felt like time passed by so quickly. Using the quarantine time I have, I reflected on the lessons learnt in the first year and how I can improve my studying habits to achieve better final grades. During this time, I have also learnt to bake, and I write blog posts on my website about issues concerning world peace.
Completing the remaining semester online was tough and it did get stressful at times, but I realized it was totally okay to be sad and anxious during this hard time. The best way that I learned to help myself feel better and more positive was by taking breaks and watching YouTube videos, which helped improve my mood. To practice social distancing, I helped my parents do groceries only once a week, which reduces the risk upon not only ourselves but also upon our health workers and all the front-line workers who are at the front line of this pandemic.
Overthinking situations can really have an impact on everyone both physically and mentally; it makes circumstances seem so much worse than they actually are. This year has been so different but I am grateful for all that I have. It is essential to be kind to others and spread positivity during this difficult time. It is hard to stay positive, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel, shortly this year will bring positivity and goodness for everyone!