It has been three semesters, one and a half years, since uni went online. How have you been dealing? Our author Celina, for one, is pretty fed up with it…
Alright, I am just gonna come out and say it: I AM TIRED!
I am currently in my fourth semester of studying psychology, which is an incredible privilege. Not only because in a world where Covid exists universities – in contrast to schools – managed to switch to online teaching pretty flawlessly, meaning I can continue pursuing my education (which in a way is my job) without putting my health at risk.
But also, because even in a pre-Covid world, being able to study and not work full-time for 5 years means that I have some kind of system that can afford to support me during that time. Even though roughly two million people study in Germany and every single one of them has their unique story, we all more or less fulfill these criteria, which explains why you haven’t heard us complain: we are aware of how lucky we are.
But even though we are better off than most people during this pandemic, it has still taken its toll on us: I am tired. And overwhelmed. And annoyed. And bored. And have I mentioned tired?
For me there is this dilemma: If we complain, we feel like we are ungrateful brats, but at the same time there is a lot on our shoulders. This does include missing out on what is supposed to be “the best years of our life” – the university experience, the partying, the late-night cramming sessions, the hungover lectures, the cafeteria food (which is arguably worse than at home), but most importantly: human contact.
And it isn´t only the simple and very real need of humans to talk to other humans, our need for laughter and fun and comfort and simply to have input from someone other than your PC or your own brain, it´s also important to be able to compare yourself. Being home alone means having to figure out your own schedule, and whilst a lot of people probably think not doing enough is the biggest problem, I believe the blurry lines between Uni and Home are the bigger issue: At any given time (and I mean at any given time) you can choose to do something for uni – and here is the fun part: no matter how much you do, there is always more. The sheer endlessness of the to-do in the back of your mind is mentally exhausting.
On top of that, this situation makes being motivated and having self-discipline harder and harder. Which then in turn makes you feel even worse, because there are deadlines you have to meet and tests you have to write, and you DO have the time to study. But at the end of the day, we simply don´t have the resources and the energy anymore, because we don´t have a way to fill them up again and balance out the stress with fun.
And whilst in the beginning a big part (at least for me) was the lack of communication between students, I am now very aware that we are all drained. Interestingly, everyone that isn´t a student seems really surprised by this: I mean how is it that a group that never gets mentioned nor thought of by politicians, is overlooked by society (apart from sometimes being called lazy or demanding), mainly depends on jobs that can’t be done during a pandemic and is currently doing more work than ever is not okay? Much curiosity indeed.
Also have you looked at the world recently? There remain the big problems like climate change and dictatorships and the fact that the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer and that there still is so much violence and so much war and so many people having to flee their home countries and, oh yeah, racism and, oh yeah, sexism (Hello, PinkyGloves!) and homophobia and don’t even get me started on politics and honestly? I am just done. It’s hard to feel like our voices aren’t being heard, but at the same time also being painfully aware that in the future we are going to be the ones who will inherit this world and who will have to try and make it a better place.
Honestly, I can’t say for sure why I feel so tired. Maybe it’s all of these reasons, maybe it’s none. Probably something in the middle. But I am tired, and I am not the only one. I wrote this because it helped me deal, but I also wrote it so you don´t feel alone. Because I know I do a lot, but hearing that I am not alone actually helps. So, talk to your friends, they will thank you, pinkie promise.
by Celina Eichhorn
Picture: Tim Gouw on Unsplash