By Maia Roston, Second Year, Philosophy
The Croft Magazine // It is natural to assume that university is the place to find oneself, to gain a sense of true independence, or ultimately just to grow up. All of these paths have become increasingly difficult to pursue since lockdown began. Evidently, our university experience is radically different from those who completed their degree before Covid-19 hit.
We are not facing the usual university predicaments. Where we once wondered ‘Should I go out tonight because I have a 9am tomorrow?’ it has become ‘Should I listen to my seminar in my bed or at my desk?’.
There is no doubt that our university experience has been considerably clouded and, as a result, so has our pursuit in finding excitement in our day-to-day lives. It is very easy to spiral into a negative mind-set about all the things that we as students are missing out on. I have certainly been guilty of doing so.
I believe the challenge we face is learning how to find authentic joy in the simple things and alter our mind-set. Once we begin to appreciate the smallest moments, there is suddenly so much more vivacity in the day.
Friendship is one of the simple things that can change everything. One walk, one text or one thoughtful gesture can brighten up not only someone’s mood in the moment but can also have a long-lasting effect. It is the comradery we feel with each other and sense of togetherness which is so vital at this time. Be able to lean on your friends as they will lean on you.
If we learn to remain in the present and appreciate the day at hand, we will begin to see each day in a more positive light
The second simple thing is to focus on the present as much as possible. It is hard to do, but so worthwhile. Try and focus on what is going on in that one day. Our thoughts define how we view everything: when we place too much emphasis on the future we can feel tentative and uncertain.
There is so much speculation about what will happen in the summer or, for those of us continuing, next academic year. If we learn to remain in the present and appreciate the day at hand, we will begin to see each day in a more positive light.
Take the time to meditate. Before Coronavirus, I would have dismissed the idea under the pretence that there is not enough time in the day. It is now so easy to take five minutes out. A friend recommended the app Headspace, and I have found the breathing exercises have really helped me to centre my mind and to find a peaceful equilibrium. Letting go of your thoughts and having a moment of serenity for a small part of your day can be so beneficial. I cannot recommend this enough.
Lastly, focus on yourself, your needs, and what makes you happy. It is in no way selfish to focus a substantial part of your energy on this. We will never get this amount of free time again. It is essential that we learn to define ourselves on our own terms by doing the things we know makes us the happiest.
I believe we can alter the way we perceive day-to-day life. We can learn to become enamoured with ourselves, our friendships and our thoughts. These are some of life’s most stripped back, simple concepts but they can alter the way we perceive each day. I urge you to find authentic joy in the simplest of things, it will do you a world of good.
Featured image: Epigram / Maia Roston