The New Normal

This isn't forever. It's just right now.

Written by: Ruqayyah Shabbir, 4th Year Honours Finance

Photo by United Nations on Unsplash

As the days go by (which is faster than I had expected!) I’m starting to realize what exactly is ahead of me. It all started with me enrolling in classes. As I made a class schedule (and several others for backup!), I noticed that pretty much all of my classes were going to be delivered online. I honestly was not expecting to be so upset, I mean shouldn’t I be happy to know I can sleep in as long as I want and do everything at my own pace, when I want and how I want? But I wasn’t. I was upset because I wasn’t sure if I would be prepared for such a big change. We all get so used to doing things the same way, year after year. I know I did, and I definitely didn’t expect my last year of university to be completely virtual.

I never thought the last time I would have to quickly walk from the SSC to NCB to make it in time for a quiz would truly be the last time. I never thought there would come a time where I didn’t get to eat lunch in an overly crowded cafeteria in UCC, having to raise my voice to be heard by my friends over all the noise. And I never thought that a day would go by with me not making a coffee at the Tims Express every morning before class started. These are all little things that I was so accustomed to, and never really thought I would miss until I realized I may not be able to enjoy them for a long while.

There are so many aspects of the university experience I have been taking for granted over the last three years. Being able to socialize wherever I want, study with whomever I like to, and have the chance to meet new people and enjoy new experiences has always seemed like something that would never be taken away from me. Not having the full freedom to do all these things has allowed me to reflect upon my privilege and I am truly more grateful for everything I had before COVID-19. As society rebuilds itself and we begin to recover from this pandemic, I will undoubtedly be more appreciative of my education, the opportunities I’ve been given, and my place in society. 

So the question is, what do I do in the meantime? How do I cope with this change and tackle the challenges of trying something new?

It’s important for me to accept that everything will be different, and it will seem like a hard adjustment at the beginning. But I told myself that as long as I can make a “new normal” for myself, one that I can get used to and be okay with, then this change ahead of me doesn’t have to feel so daunting and dreadful. There is a lot for me to learn in order to succeed in the upcoming academic year. For instance, how will I get my questions answered given that I can’t just walk up to my professor at the end of class? My daily exercising usually would involve me walking/running across campus from one class to the next; how will I get my daily physical activity now?

The key is to make a routine for yourself that will motivate you to work hard in your classes, and still be present in all the extracurricular activities in which you would normally participate, in whatever virtual form they may take. As long as you self-discipline by sticking to a schedule, make time for self-care (exercise, social life, etc.), and continue to give everything your best, you will be on your way to having a new normal that you can be okay with!


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