The new normal is here

As we enter a new and fresh academic year, it is essential that we look after our physical and mental
healths. Over the past 18 months, I am sure that we have all had our dose of ups and downs, but
everything seems to be going back to “normal” now. For some, it is going back to work, others it is
going back to school or University, and for others, it may be just still figuring it out.

 

University and keeping up with everyone else

I am about to embark on a new chapter, as I enter my second year of studying music at Goldsmiths
university London. Naturally, there are a mixture of emotions. It has been so long since I have been in close proximity to people my own age, as for many,  the interacting process is a little scary.
Leading up to my University start date, anxiety is creeping in, and it is difficult to differentiate what is adrenaline and what is dread anymore.

Studying music, I understand that there will be collaborative work, and potential late nights, gigging and supporting one another. It is exciting, but It made me wonder, how do we maintain personal boundaries that protect our overall well being?

I am anticipating questions like “What do you do?”. During the lockdown period, I started thinking
about that question in a musical/creative environment and I’m not too sure how to answer it. Is it
okay not to know yet? Naturally, we will all be asking those types of questions, and figuring out who
we can collaborate and create with. I have formed an answer, even though the situation hasn’t
occurred yet, “I have not figured it out yet”.

Freshers week is approaching, a fun time to socialise and get to know the people that you will be
studying with for the next year or so. I just received an email that outlines how Welcome Week will be going ahead, and although it is exciting, fuelled with warmth and socialising, it is overwhelming. How do we balance our mental health, with the amount of social and academic load that is ahead of us?

Top Tips to staying in control

It took so long to frame a routine in lockdown, and now we will be a part of a new, highly social one
again.  Firstly, I think it is important to highlight that “the fear of missing out [FOMO]” can be a rather distressing feeling itself. In a world where we can assess what people are doing on Snapchat
and Instagram, it is easy to feel left out, or like you are falling behind on something. In reality,
we can all capture a moment, glorifying it to make it look like it is “the best time ever”, when in
reality, it’s not quite the case.

Choose events that you picture yourself having a good time at. Assess how you feel mentally
before going out, and getting swept up in a night of socialising. Potentially, write down how
you feel in that particular moment, on that day. Keeping a log on how you feel before and after
an event can establish where you are at your highs, and where you are at your low’s.

Remember that everyone has been going through something over the past 18 months.
Beneath the exterior, going out and having a drink or two, collectively we have been fighting in
some way during lockdown.

While going out and getting to know people is great fun, it’s important to remind yourself that everyone will be having some type of worry internally.

As we enter a life of face to face interaction and real life conversation again, it is important that we
prioritise our mental health and set personal boundaries. Working at a pace that works for us
individually, will make the social, creative and overall experience balanced. Not being drained by the
process, but actually being mentally present in these social events, will make the “easing out of
lockdown” and back into real life scenario, far more enjoyable.

Written by Milli Rose Rubin

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