Since time hasn’t existed since March, it feels utterly unreal to be actually working on my thesis right now. Nevertheless, from now until September you can expect to find me knee-deep in air quality reports and R scripts. My project is desk-based so fortunately the overall research process hasn’t been impacted too much by the pandemic. Still, remote thesis work has required its share of adjustments:
Finishing online exams and my top tipsExpectations:
At 10:55am yesterday, I clicked submit on my final ever exam paper. In my head I had always dreamed of this day. We would finish our exam and head to the union. We would bask in the sun on Beit quad before enjoying some well deserved curly fries and pints.Reality:
Instead I found myself sitting at my desk staring at the paper and notes all over my desk, (thank you open book exams), I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. It felt a little anticlimactic. Here I was, finishing my last ever undergraduate exam, basically finishing my degree, just sitting at my desk staring at the same blank wall I have been staring at for the past 10 weeks.
Pre-coronavirus, I generally enjoyed cooking every night as a way to destress (and save money). Then, during the “spring break” portion of the lockdown when time was at its most unreal and grocery store shelves at their emptiest, I lost interest. Meals during this time tended towards digestive biscuits, large quantities of oatmeal, and raw carrots eaten despondently at my desk. But now that summer term has picked up, I’ve gone back to cooking as a welcome distraction from everything. I find it a bit more of a challenge now that I only buy groceries once a week since I like to make whatever I’m feeling at the time instead of planning meals in advance, but I’m making it work.
Taking charge of your own mental health support.
We have been in a state of nationwide lock-down for a few weeks now. This has understandably taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. Some may have managed to cope more than others. However, professional and academic commitments still need to be met even during a pandemic. The pressure from keeping up with that alongside the uncertainty of the current situation may lead to heightened anxiety among students. This can manifest in many ways some of which are erratic sleep, loss of appetite, irritability or panic attacks.
With the pressures from the crisis and everything being run remotely, the access to professional mental health support has unfortunately diminished.
I know I’m not the only one for which time since mid-March hasn’t felt quite real. The Easter break passed in a dissociative blur and now it’s apparently summer term? It’s been challenging to get back into the headspace of academic work since I‘m still stuck in the same physical space that I’ve been in for a month. But since deadlines don’t stop even though time isn’t real, I’ve been slowly clawing my lockdown life into something of a routine.Morning
I start most mornings with a run in my local park. Running has never been my preferred form of exercise but being able to get outside and burn off some pent-up energy helps me cope with spending the rest of the day in my room.