Photo Credit: Maria Kotob, Photo Editor
One St Mike’s student’s experience
Katelyn Minacs, The Mike Staff Writer
December 2020 was rough. I found myself writing essays—which, honestly, I didn’t feel like writing—up until the week or so before Christmas, scrambling and struggling to find the energy to make it through. What made things worse was the sense of isolation I felt as the only University student in my house. In addition to significant burnout—which all students face at the end of the semester—is made so much worse by the exhaustion of an entire semester online. While my family was getting ready for the holidays, I was fixated on the impending due dates of various assignments. It felt amazing when I finally completed my work and I totally indulged myself in the festivities of the holidays. I’m very grateful that my immediate family was able to celebrate Christmas together. I live at home with my parents and little brother, and my older sister—who lives in Toronto—was able to get a COVID test and come home. Even though our annual big family Christmas events were cancelled due to COVID. Although, my immediate family usually has small and intimate traditions on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we were lucky that things remained mostly the same for us.
I feel like I got to spend great quality time with my siblings this winter break. We cooked and baked together a lot, watched movies, and went sledding. My sister left to go back to Toronto before New Years, and eventually my little brother returned to school—now online because of the lockdown—on January 4th. This posed a bit of a problem for me: I had absolutely no idea what to do with my free time. I was so used to constantly keeping myself busy with work since September and with no one around to spend time with, I fell into a state of boredom and apathy. During the first week of winter break, I’d been watching more Youtube, but was completely bored and uninterested in videos the algorithm was recommending to me by the end of the second week. I was “relaxing” but I wasn’t really enjoying myself. TikTok helped solve this problem for me, as I came across a video of someone crocheting a sweater and suddenly one of my old hobbies was reinvigorated. I spent the final week of winter break on my basement couch crocheting squares out of multi-colour yarn to sew into a cardigan. Also, during this time I ended up watching all 7 seasons of Brooklyn-99 from start to finish.
Honestly, by the end of the final week of break I was starting to get bored again, but I think it’s important to allow yourself to feel this way sometimes. Boredom allows you to emerge with clarity and reset routines. I think as University students, we’re so used to chasing productivity that we’re vulnerable to intense self-criticism if we do not meet our standards. It feels foreign when we allow ourselves to embody a mindset of rest. Further, I think that allowing myself to sit around to the point of boredom “flushed” my system from the burnout I was feeling in the final weeks before school ended. I finished off the third week of break looking forward to the term ahead. I certainly don’t think I would’ve felt as ready to return to online classes if we only had 2 week off. Going into the Fall semester, I always dread the clocks going back an hour and anticipate seasonal depression as the days get shorter and darker. To me, however, the Winter semester makes me feel hopeful for warmer and brighter days that lay ahead. This hope helps me power through the dark and cold winter days we’re bound to face until then.