Happy new year, everybody!Now all of last year’s struggles go away, right? 2020 was the problem, right? It’s not like the sociopolitical problems which came to a head last year existed long before then and remain our unfortunate, ever-evolving inheritance to contend with, right?Hm. Let me start over.
It is certainly a new year.
And yet here I am, writing to you from the same place where I’ve been writing since March of last year. And there you are, probably reading this from the same place you’ve been reading things since March.
New year, same four walls.
This school year is off to a strange start for me, probably because the holidays were more of a blur than usual. I slept a lot, yet I don’t know if I feel refreshed. I had more than enough things to do, but I didn’t get very much done.
I know, I know, the holidays are not about getting things done, but these were fun things for me and they still largely didn’t happen.
For example: I planned to deliver some Christmas baking to the doorsteps of my close friends, but it never happened. I bought all the ingredients and dessert boxes with Christmas patterns. They taunt me from the pantry. I am also haunted by my lovingly organized Excel spreadsheet. Friends in rows, treats in columns. A column for allergies and diets; recipes marked “vegan” or “nuts.” I may as well put the spreadsheet in the graveyard of a folder I call “story ideas.”
I also still haven’t watched the Pride and Prejudice TV series or movie. I know. What kind of English major am I?
As we get back into the swing of things, my brain is fuzzier than usual. I am finding myself winded after reading three pages of academic writing. I’m making spelling mistakes I usually wouldn’t and my rough drafts are rougher than usual. I’ve been going back to my favourite “struggle meals”: omelettes and instant noodles. When I finish working for the day, I usually crawl into bed with my Nintendo Switch until I fall asleep.
The most obvious clue into my frazzled mental state is that I am offering you this “New Year” blog in...February.
Assuming that you, dear reader, are feeling as frazzled as I do, I’m going to do us both a favour and keep this one short. (If you read my last blog post, you’ll know that this is a challenge for me.) I need to save some energy for weekly assignments and stockpile some more for essay season, hibernation-style.
To save my brain and yours time and energy, I am going to leave you with some of my scattered thoughts as we go into this semester, and then we will go our separate ways and actually do this semester. Okay? Okay.
I really hope this will be the last semester of online learning. It seems like it might be. I don’t want to jinx anything, so I’ll leave it there.
I miss campus. I miss lying in the green grasses in the quad at the beginning of the Fall semester and at the end of the Winter semester. I miss hunting ottomans in the library. (My policy: any ottoman is up for grabs, even if you have to awkwardly maneuver past thirty students to roll it to your spot.) I miss the books, too, of course. I miss office hours with my profs. I miss standing in coffee lines with my friends. I miss my clothes, though I’m so used to sweatpants now that I shudder to think about the cold, stiff embrace of denim.
I do not miss the bus, though.
I don’t know where I would be without Animal Crossing. During the school year, I feel too guilty for passive activities like watching TV and movies, so I opt for active activities (redundant, but you know what I mean) like baking, drawing, and designing my Animal Crossing island. Unlike my assignments, my island doesn’t have a due date. It will never be complete. It can never be a burden.
I hope you, dear reader, have something in your life that makes you feel as free as Animal Crossing makes me feel.
By the time we are able to safely go out and be in crowds again, I think all of my social “muscles” will have withered and died.
I was just getting over some personal stomachache-inducing feelings around social situations when the pandemic began, and now I feel like I have to start all over. Crowds? Suffocating. People? Ugh. Speaking in front of people again? Scary. Someone accidentally brushing up against my shoulder? Ew. Nearly bumping into someone and doing that awkward I-go-left-you-go-right shuffle until you can awkwardly pass each other? I want to eject myself into space.
As much as I want to spend time with my friends again, I don’t want us to go anywhere. Just come over so we can make some food, watch TV, and maybe take a nap together.
I am never going to stop wearing masks.
I owned masks before the pandemic hit. I appreciate anonymity and I hate the cold. I also think that in ordinary circumstances, wearing a mask is the polite thing to do if you’re sick and you have to go out in public.
I now own four masks with pretty patterns on them so I can pair them with my outfits. I will accumulate more over time.
I hope to see more masks during flu season from here forward.
I think that’s about all I have in me this week. Insert humorously-cynical-but-ultimately-hopeful ending here.
Pandemically bemasked, your student blogger,
Jaclyn Legge is a 3rd or 4th year student returning to full-time student life after completing Co-op. She spends her free time calling to the muses for inspiration in her writing, drawing, and shower dancing routines. Her poetry has been published in Bywords.ca. No, she doesn’t want to be a teacher; she considers herself a student in every aspect of life.
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