Who would have thought that 2020 would usher in a global pandemic that would sweep the world and all of our lives by storm? Well, other than Bill Gates four years ago?
As I’m sure it’s been for you too, Covid-19 is everywhere I go. In its my newsfeed, it’s in my email inbox, it’s the topic of all conversations. And, much like I imagine it has been for you too, it’s ruining what sliver of a romantic life I have – Book of Mormon tickets from my Partner for my Birthday? No ma’am they said to her, they’ve had to cancel the show. Why? Covid-19.
In all honesty though – I’m exceptionally privileged. The disruption of Covid-19 in my life has (so far) been nowhere near what it has been for those in China, Italy, Iran and countless other places. I’m fortunate to have somewhere warm to stay during that impending lockdown people have been worrying about today (Thursday, March 19th) and so far, we have toilet paper.
I usually try to give a bit of an update in terms of what AUSA’s doing but to be honest with you, the honest answer is we’re not entirely sure. This week has been devoted to ensuring that all the essential services we provide (our Advocacy service, our Welfare Grants, our Class Reps System) are still capable of being operated online and remotely in the event that the University might have to shut down. And actually, I’m pleased to say that we’ll meet that challenge and be able to deliver those services, as well as this, online.
The main thing I really want to talk to you about is looking after yourself. I am by no means an expert and its definitely a case of “do as I say, not as I do” with me but I think that’s the most important thing we can be doing for ourselves (and by extension, each other) at this time. You’ll hate me but I have to say this first – wash your freaking hands. I know it’s a cliché and I know you know this and I know that the Craccum Editors have probably already written this in their Editorials (damnit!) but it’s so important you do this and it’s so important that you’re on others to do the same. We need to remember that Covid-19 isn’t just a scary cold, it’s a public health problem too. The true danger is that too many of us contract it and that suddenly the health care system we have is overrun, with those who could have been helped not being helped early enough or at all. So please, do what you need to in order to exercise health and safety best practice.
More broadly though, I think a big challenge for all of us in particular, as an age bracket that is fortunately less susceptible to the crueller symptoms of Covid-19, is keeping up mental wellbeing in an age of self-isolation and social distancing. We might be the generation most adept to do things online and remotely through our devices but we’re also a generation that’s doing it tough with our mental health and wellbeing and self-isolation may only make it tougher. I wish I had better advice for this one but the only tips I really have are (1) keep in contact with people, share the memes around and try make yourself laugh at least once a day (2), video chat someone every once in a while (especially if you’re in self-isolation) over messaging and (3) accept that it’s OK to NOT be OK. The world around us is literally crazy at the moment and it’s ok to be overwhelmed by it. What’s not ok though is to keep that to yourself – the best thing about venting is that you can just get it off your chest and once you’ve done that, you will feel peace.
I’ve rambled for longer than usual this time but the key thing is to look after yourself during these crazy times, to reach out for help and yes, to wash those bloody hands.
Catch you by the Hand Sanitiser station,