Reopening anxiety: panic at the disco

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By Lydia Wakelin, First Year, Psychology

The Croft Magazine // As the world begins to open up again on the 19th July, many of us are experiencing a mix of emotions.

It’s been over a year since we’ve been able to dance in clubs with our friends or attend larger gatherings. Many of us had only just begun to experience clubbing before isolation and the virus; some of us hadn’t even had the chance to enjoy them. Whether you were a regular club goer, or a first-time clubber, the reopening of clubs will be a big change to all of us. It will bring a range of emotions – excitement, fear, nervousness. For some of us, we may feel overwhelmed by the idea of clubbing again.

This will be the first time in a long time that we have all been in such a busy vicinity before, and it will take a bit of getting used to. For me, I can’t wait to be able to dance and it actually be allowed, not having to quickly stand up and dance in Lakota before the bouncer telling me to sit down. However, this anticipation is bittersweet. We are all excited for a return to normality, but we are also left with feeling out of practice and uneasy.

I specifically remember the week before the first lockdown was announced, me and my friends were going to the club in our local town. I had turned 18 less than a month ago and had only been out about four times prior. As I was getting all my stuff together to leave, I told my dad I was a bit worried about catching corona (it felt like such a big thing at that point). He replied saying that I should go out anyway because I would regret it if I didn’t, and that clubs may be shut in a week’s time. Taking my dad’s advice was one of the best decisions I’ve made as I had an amazing night, all for the clubs to be shut less than a week after. The night in that club remained a memory for me throughout the three lockdowns we endured.

Many of us miss clubbing, but also fear reopening | Epigram / Lydia Wakelin

The feeling of walking into a club for the first time in over a year is daunting. For first time club goers, I can imagine there must be feelings of great uncertainty as to what it will be like, a concept that has been talked about, but out of grasp for many university experiences.

There may also be a feeling of pressure about attending clubs. Many of our friends will be wanting to go clubbing, leaving a sense of missing out if you decide not to go. There is also a feeling of “making the most of them” when they reopen because many of us felt we have been deprived of the real first year university experience. If you don’t feel ready when clubs initially open, it is fine to wait a while and hear from others about how they found it.

Try to enjoy this time together, whether you go clubbing or stay in | Epigram / Emily Fromant

I feel a huge mix of emotions about clubs reopening. It feels like as a student you should feel ecstatic about the prospect of clubbing, just like your peers. Whilst I am also excited, I also feel a sense of unease. It is hard to articulate these emotions to others, as I don’t want to come across as a ‘buzz-kill’ when everyone else around me appears so elated. I think we just need to be honest with ourselves and hold back if we aren’t comfortable with going yet. Our second year will only just be beginning and we will have plenty of time to experience clubbing with our friends, don’t feel you have to rush into anything you aren’t ready for.

As the restrictions are lifted and the clubs can reopen, look out for others and for yourself through these changes, and most importantly, enjoy yourself – you’ve earned it.

Featured image: Epigram / Emily Fromant

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