As we are in our third lockdown here in the UK, most of us have been accustomed to the new virtual life and have found many ways to keep ourselves occupied and productive during these long hours at home. Adapting has not been the easiest for me and even though I am pretty much an introvert, I am not capable of changing my lifestyle in a blink of an eye. That is also the reason why it took me much longer than others to finally decide to return back to Malaysia last academic year, as I needed time to accept that the rest of the academic year would be conducted virtually. Coming to our third lockdown now, I’ve been trying to take this time to accomplish things that I have been putting off due to always being too caught up in the moment.
Catching up with old friends
I tend to get so caught up with my work here in Imperial that I often forget to phone home or send a message asking my close friends how are they doing. During my second year, I tried to rectify my mistake by phoning people from home whenever I am able to multitask. This includes when I was taking the bus to University or doing my laundry. Even though the calls might be short, I managed to keep up to date with their progresses in life and be there when I am needed as well. They have also given me incredible emotional support at my times of need as well.
This year, especially with lectures being recorded in high quality on Microsoft Teams, flexibility is a luxury that we can all enjoy. I find it so much easier to plan my daily schedule now as I have shifted my approach from scheduling my day to the minute to giving myself a set amount of tasks to complete within a day. This allowed me to be more productive in my work as I will always choose the work I feel like completing at that moment, as long as I finish all my tasks before the day ends. Therefore, with the extra time I have left with me, I am able to organize long calls with my family and friends to catch-up with all the stories and events I have sadly missed out in the past two years. Other than that, I’ve been utilizing the amazing platforms that have been provided because of the pandemic such as Netflix Party to stream movies with my friends. Sometimes, you don’t need to have things to say to be able to hangout with each other. I learned thaat more often than not, the mere presence of another individual is powerful enough to get you through the rest of your day.
Catching up with old hobbies
As an avid reader, I used to read anything I could get my hands on, regardless of whether they are fiction or non-fiction. Coming to Imperial, the only reading that I’ve been focusing on has been lecture notes and lecture slides. With the new found free time, I’ve been getting back with my old hobby. It feels really amazing to shift my mindset into one from a fantasy world and I have been reminded of how lovely it is to be able to escape into different realities even from your own room.
As English is not my first language, the thought of using Audiobooks have always scared me as I was afraid I could not keep up with the speed of the narrator. However, this lockdown has prompted me to give it a try and I must say, I am currently detachable from listening to Audiobooks. When I am working on house chores or working out, Audiobooks or podcasts have helped me keep my mind exercised while my body is doing the same as well.
A few amazing books which I have read recently and would like to recommend to everyone are ‘Still Alice’ by Lisa Genova, ‘A Tale For the Time Being’ by Ruth Ozeki and ‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’ by Samantha Shannon.
Catching up with my housemates
Yes. By spending literally every day of my life with my housemates, I am forced to have interactions wiht them. Jokes aside, this lockdown has really helped my housemates and I to bond through another level of friendship. We see each other at the dinner table every day without fail and we are always up to date with daily events from each other’s lives. We have also been spending a lot of time playing poker together as past time!
Although all that I have just mentioned do not sound like big accomplishments, but to me, they are little things in my life that I am proud to have achieved. Everyone struggles differently to adapt to the pandemic and to the lockdown, and that is why everyone should be taking their own pace in adapting to it as well. If you have secured a funding for your PhD, congratulations to you! If you managed to get yourself to eat a nutritious three meals, I’m proud of you as well! I hope that this story inspires you to talk about your little successes in life as well, because I sure do want to hear about them!