Despite all the projects, lectures and assignments I must do during this midterm break, I refuse to let this week go by without a book in one hand, a wine in the other and a night spent in a bubble bath.
This year has brought on so many surprises, the biggest being the most invisible to the naked eye — COVID-19. Adjusting to the onslaught of changes from the pandemic has taken so much of my physical and mental energy since March.
And I am not alone in facing these challenges.
I prefer in-person classes, so shifting to online delivery has been difficult. However, I have prior experience with remote school to fall back on. But for first-time online students, I can only imagine the learning curve they are going through. One of my biggest challenges is finding a quiet place in my house for online meetings so that my peers don’t have to hear my mom yell, “Supper is ready!”
Our student parents are also finding this school year difficult. While I am trying to find a place away from my parents, student parents are navigating the online world while taking care of their kids, and you can’t really run away from your children.
International students face a completely different dimension of struggles as well. While I complain about finding a quiet room in my house, students from across the world are turning into night owls to attend online lectures.
But of course, it’s not just students who are greatly affected. Professors, who usually teach in person, are transitioning their curriculum into an online format. Courses that are lab-based or discussion-based are particularly difficult to teach with limited in-person interactions. The classroom learning environment is also diminished, adding more barriers for professors.
Regardless of who you ask, our post-secondary education has drastically changed this year, and we didn’t have a choice in the matter. It has been a stressful experience for everyone, full of trials and errors. It is for that reason that I encourage you to rest up, the exact thing you are supposed to do during a midterm break.
The reality is most students have projects, essays and midterm coming right after the break. With less than a month left of classes, it always seems like these last few excruciating pieces of school work congregate at the worst time possible.
Personally, my mental health is absolutely exhausted at this point. I have troubles focusing on my homework, so it’s taking me longer to finish them than necessary. If you’re having the same issues, that’s a sign that you need a break from school, too.
So this break I made a plan, ensuring that I have set time aside for my homework and hobbies that I miss. My goal is to finish 25 per cent of my homework by Friday and work hard for the first few days after the break to fully catch up.
I’ve planned out time to go for much needed walks by the river. The wind may be cold and brisk, but nothing is fresher than winter air. I’ve planned to spend time with my family, dusting the cobwebs off our board games and having supper with them at a decent hour.
And of course, I’ve set aside time to enjoy my book and a glass of wine in a nice, hot bubble bath because it’s the self-care I need.
And you deserve it too. Take a pause this week and replenish your energy. We only have three weeks left after that, so make most of this midterm break.