Amidst dealing with world events, such as COVID-19, one can forget the importance of a private, inner life and the benefits of disconnecting from the ever-changing social, political and economic scene. As students, we are not immune to these pressures.
The rise in mental health awareness, has arguably advanced the idea that our lives need fixing. Perhaps all we need is to be allowed to disconnect from the world to realise that all is well. COVID-19 has, for some, allowed an opportunity to bring ourselves closer to the private, inner life of the self.Whilst mindfulness, daily exercise and diet regimes play their part in the concept of a ‘healthy’ person, the most important aspect of those tools and techniques is the ability to think rationally about a place of calm understanding and acknowledgement of ourselves. Human touch and contact are fundamentally important to our wellbeing. However, being on one’s own can be just as healing.
In removing some of our social, digital and habitual distractions, we are provided with an opportunity to allow ‘boredom' to seep into our lives. From the juxtaposition of imposed industriousness being alone that the life of a student entails, a greater sense of calm can allow us to craft better ways of communicating, studying and relating to ourselves. Our lives as working practitioners, academics or industry specialists will present numerous times in which we will have to regain the reins and take control of our inner most private self. Tremendous skill is needed with that balance if we are to be successful at our chosen path.
My COVID-19 coping mechanism has been to finally allow myself to actively seek out such ‘boredom’ as a reset mechanism. With that, my motivation to explore tricky legal concepts has improved. My desire to create more time has gone. Gone too has the need to conquer the huge ‘to do’ pile, replaced instead with an enormous desire to conquer the massive reading list. Not with the previous dread and knotting anxiety previous weeks, but with a keen, refreshed mind, able to effectively mind-map the topics to be grasped. I also have a renewed sense that the enormous challenge of completing a law degree can be mastered with more patience, and kindness to myself. Allowing oneself to be ‘bored’ is not a magical tool but nonetheless has provided me with a sense that I am in control of my intellectual objectives.
Much of what we do as a student body may see a sense of the moral imperative being imposed in our thought processes. It may be trite to say but I’ll say it nonetheless; one has to be kind to oneself before all others. In the lead up to exams, this is a vitally important skill to demonstrate and now is a good time to consider such an idea. I know this technique may not work for every University of London student but it is my sincere hope that it at least sees you in a better mental space. As the world wakes from the imposed lockdown, our senses will once again be overwhelmed, but it is important to remember that we are in control.
Nicola is studying the LLB in Australia.