Dear Me, As the Lockdown Begins…
I definitely underestimated this situation with the COVID-19 virus. I actually expected the lockdown not to last long, hoping that countries would somehow buckle up and prevent it from spreading like wildfire. A couple of weeks after the whole world shut down with no vaccine in sight, reality began to kick in, and everyone, especially we students, realized how things might never be the same for some time.
The spread of this pandemic and the accompanying events - the infodemic, rumors and conspiracy theories - surrounding it have had a remarkable effect on the way I see life. I now view life more aware that it is full of uncertainties and countless possibilities. And there are definitely things I wish I knew before the quarantine that would have prepared me mentally for this journey. So, dear me before the lockdown, here are a few things you should know:
This period is an opportunity for growth
During this time when the world has shut down, you should invest in personal growth. I don’t mean immersing yourself in academic activities alone. Reconnect with yourself. Discover who you are and what catches your interest. Then dive unapologetically into acquiring those skills that will contribute into making you into the person you’ve always wanted to become.
Pay even more attention to your physical and mental health. Life could get monotonous, and watching the news everyday with all the negativity flying around could take a toll on you. You must learn to shield yourself from negative and depressing thoughts and turn towards the good things of life that will uplift you and shoot in some excitement aAnd there are definitely things I wish I knew before the quarantine that would have prepared me mentally for this journey. So, dear me before the lockdown, here are a few things you should know:nd fun.
Learn the value of self-motivation
You have all the time in the world during this lockdown and you could choose to spend it in any way you want. However, do not leave everything to chance. Make plans each day and enjoy the satisfaction of ticking off the final item in your to-do-list. Develop your self-discipline and engage in mind-building activities that will leave you refreshed.
There will certainly be days you wake up, not feeling like doing anything. Just get up, and remind yourself that time lost is never regained. At that moment, you have to be your own motivation to get things done. This way, you will get much more fullfilment at the end of each day.
This period is not a competition for productivity
As much as you have made plans and a mental list of all you’d like to have achieved by the end of the lockdown, you need to rest. Take a chill pill, watch some Netflix and relax. It may seem to you right now, that there’s just enough time to catch up on all that outstanding school work and devote yourself to strict studying. But trust me, you could easily burn yourself out and end up achieving absolutely nothing.
You will soon realise that it is totally okay to be “idle” sometimes, to spend time gathering your thoughts and gain fresh insights to get substantial work done.
Enjoy the company of people
Don’t underestimate the importance of support from those around you. During this quarantine, when you’re all by yourself, you’ll come to realise the value of your friends and family even more. Spend time with those you’re physically close to and take out time to place a call to those not so near. Video calls are always better.
Cultivating these relationships will give you a perfect outlet for your feelings and also encourage you to get inspiration and comfort to survive through all that is happening around you at this time. You’ll also learn to offer much-needed support and encouragement to the people you love.
Dear me, a lot will take place during this period. You’ll discover, learn, unlearn, relearn and grow thereby. There will be highs and lows, schoolwork in volumes, confused emotions, depression tendencies, eager expectations, fear of the future and growing impatience. One thing, though, you must reconstruct your idea of “normal” and be willing to take on life as it comes. Only then will you be able to truly savour the season you’re in, seize the opportunities that accompany it and look back at the priceless memories of a time well-spent!
Ikenna is a Nigerian enthusiastic about harnessing technology to improve healthcare for all. He is studying Medical Informatics at Technische Hochschule Deggendorf (THD-ECRI). He enjoys classical music, most outdoor sports, and books about technology, politics, and history.