You probably get a bit fed up of me apologizing for not posting as much as I want to be, and so I’ll try and keep it short. I guess a lot of the reasons this post is so long after the last one is part of what I plan to talk about in this post – the current situation.
It’s the reason for this title, I think a lot of us think about how good it would be to not have to go certain places, a lot of us probably have thought that it would be great if we could do our work or education from home, a lot of us have thought it might be nice to get a week or two to just be at home? Well all of that, that is what I take back.
Currently (as of 26th April 2020) I have been at home for forty-five days. I am lucky that in the UK we are allowed to leave our homes once per day for exercise. I am also lucky that the town I live in is fairly rural and so it’s possible for me to go out and walk my dog while still maintaining social distancing. I know this is something I should be incredibly grateful to be able to do, but it is still not my normal and so it still sucks. It is frustrating not being able to go away from my town with the dog, it is frustrating that the places I walk the dog have become more limited since more people are going out than normal (ironic isn’t it, the people you would never see going for a walk are suddenly walking every day).
I thought it was great that I was able to continue working from home, and in a lot of ways I am still very glad I have been able to keep up with it but a few days ago I had an email from the university and I think that was the last straw for me.
I often think I surprise myself in a crisis, I cope a lot better than I expect I will at times. I haven’t had any major meltdowns or too much of an emotional crisis so far but the decision made by my Uni on Friday has massively lowered my mood. Over the past two days, I have struggled to feel positive, I have struggled to motivate myself to do anything at all. Part of this probably is as a result of being here for so long now, a result of not being able to live my life much at all, but like I said the email from Uni brought it all to the fore.
So what was this email? The email explained that all Pupils in first, second or third year of their degree is going to be given a ‘safety net’ meaning that they will automatically progress to next year regardless of whether they submit their assignments. This makes a lot of sense if it weren’t for:
1/ The fact that we have had these assignments ongoing for several weeks already, all deadlines are on the 8th of May, so still a further two weeks to go
2/ There are no discrepancies, if you are a singly mum at home with three young children who has to entertain children, or if you are working as a key worker and have to go in regardless, you should be the most entitled to this help, of course you should. These circumstances however also apply to those who are at home all day and should have been working on these assessments for several weeks already.
3/ Many classmates have already expressed that they don’t plan to attempt to put their work in on time, or even complete it at all. Simply because they don’t have to.
4/ We have also been told that if we claim mitigating circumstances (as is needed for all of this) a process that has been reduced to a click of a button, then we can submit these pieces of coursework at some stage over the summer and still receive a grade.
It is this last point that gets at me the most. I have been working for this, I have been keeping up with work and attending classes as is expected, I have also been dealing with mental health, with ASD, with ADD. I have also been managing my diabetes which has gone wild due to all the changes, and I have been in constant pain for at least two weeks due to a wisdom tooth which is trying to break through parallel to an existing molar.
(This tooth would normally be getting removed but it’s, of course, a non-essential surgery and so I don’t want to have to risk getting it done currently unless infection sets in, but God knows how long it will be before I can actually get rid of the pain to my mouth/jaw/head/back of my neck. )
I have been working with all of this stuff, normally things that wouldn’t bother me, that I would consider fine and that I wouldn’t actually submit mitigating circumstances for. I am well within a chance of handing in all my work on time. Yet there are many who will submit in another two months, having had twice the time given for the assignments to be done, and still be in with a high chance of getting a good grade.
I am not against people getting the extra time if they need it, nor am I against the safety net given to those who are in impossible situations. What I am against, and what has made my mood drop off a cliff, is that there are people in my classes (I would even say the majority of them) who are not making any effort to do the work, who are not making much effort to attend online classes, who will submit an assignment in July, having had more time than was allowed to most of us and get an A or B grade.
To me it’s another example of ASD people suffering because we follow the rules, because we work hard – harder often than others – and because we need to grip on with white knuckles to every last scrap of normality.
I think that’s something that people aren’t really understanding in the current situation, I did originally laugh at some of the memes out there about ASD and social anxiety such as these ones:
But I think now I’m really seeing that actually as much as we are often better at being alone, at being home and occupying ourselves, we also need other things. We need those choices that we can’t make, we need that little bit more than our world is letting us have. I normally walk the dog and enjoy doing that but I am shoved into a smaller space, I can’t go out on the bus to different places to walk her, I can’t go and meet friends with or without the dog to go for walks. Holly and I often go out just to go out, with no obvious plans until we get there and see what mood we are in, but that can’t happen.
I can’t see my nieces Big M and Little M, both who are getting used to seeing us on video calls but I feel that it’s like letting someone smell a bar of chocolate right in front of them and not touch it. I miss their hugs and their laughter and the amount of life that exists in little kids. I miss seeing Holly like anything, and the more time goes on the more I feel the holiday we have booked for the first week of June will be cancelled, not even moved back, but cancelled.
I think we just have to do what we can at the moment, I think we have to admit that things really suck. We have to understand that things are going to be different for a while and we need to do what is right for ourselves, personally, to get through it. We can get through the other side, some European countries are beginning to slowly lift lockdown, bit by bit, and some are only a few weeks ahead of the UK in terms of beginning lockdown. There’s a chance we will begin to get out in the coming months, something that I am desperate for but also wary of due to my medical stuff.
When that starts we also have to be kind to ourselves, we have to allow time to re-learn things. There’s a good chance that a lot of us will find public places, which used to be no problem, overwhelming. There’s a chance we will get socially tired a lot faster from simple things from the old world. I even find the sun too bright (and that’s with my specific coloured lenses) when I go out to walk the dog because I am spending less time in direct daylight.
It’s going to be a long haul, it’s going to take time and its going to continue to suck, but we need to keep going, keep getting through each day as it comes and trying to see the good in things around us. We can do this, we will.
Keep safe everyone, again I am sorry that my posting has been rubbish recently and I hope they will be more often and more interesting again in the future. Always, but maybe more important now than ever, please feel free to leave a comment below, tell me what sucks in your world, or tell me what is good, tell me something totally unrelated that you learned this week. Keep talking, keep well and keep safe.
Speak again soon, 🙂