Forever a small fish in a big pond

Monday 30 March 2020

COVID-19; A change in plan.

March started off so exciting and positively overwhelming for me, I handed in my last academic essay of my degree; finally, after three years the end was in sight. I was finding my feet within my first contracted job role, loving getting stuck in and exploring how I could contribute to the growth of our organisation; and then of course, the big one.... masters... I made the decision to apply for my master's degree, something which a year ago was never on my radar. I decided that my life in Wales was not something I wanted to pack up and leave just yet, and my journey at USW wasn’t ready to be over. So I applied.... and I got in.
I was starting to have a plan. For the first time in a long time, I was starting to look beyond the next 3 months. I had aborted the idea of rushing back to my home comforts at the end of my degree, and I was beginning to shape life as I wanted.

Thursday 12th March; I got my official offer to study my MA degree in Working for children and families.
A week later: The UK confirms lockdown.

Wait. What?

Back it up a minute. This wasn’t part of the plan.

In a 7 day period, my life went from signing up for an extra year at university, to my time at university (for this year at least) ending without me even knowing. Where I was starting to plan the next few years, suddenly I don’t know what’s going on in the next few hours.

Anyone who's known me for a while... knows... I thrive off a plan. My life has always involved the need to plan. Since a young age myself and my family have had to plan... if there was something I couldn’t reach? Plan how to reach it? If there was something that didn’t fit. Plan how to make it. If I knew my parents were going out for the day; I knew I had to plan everything I needed from the moment they left, to the moment they came back so that they could reach it for me before they left. If I go-out, I need to know that I could reach public facilities and get wherever I’m going safely. The height of public toilets. The height of ticket machines. How big the curbs are on the road; are they manageable?
Everything has always needed a PLAN.
Well, let me tell you one thing... COVID-19; doesn’t care about your plans.

One week on from accepting to be a MA student, I was now left accepting the fact that my final semester of university; is going to take place in my home. Something which I don’t think anyone could’ve envisioned. The first few days; admittedly consisted more wallowing than working; I didn’t even know where to start. I made a semi-timetable to try and stick to the same working schedule as I would be having, had I still been at university, but by day 4 I had already missed half of my to-dos.
I was beating myself up. Big time. Caught up in how I had gone from feeling so positive about my studies; to not even being able to get my head down to write a sentence. The concept of everything was overwhelming... and not for the reasons March had started off as! And with each day in my schedule that I didn't stick to; only came an even smaller motive to attempt the day after. I wasn't getting anywhere, I wasn't any closer to achieving anything; but you know what was getting closer- DEADLINE DAY.

But after realising that wallowing in my self-pity wasn't going to get me anywhere, nor was beating myself up about the situation, I took a deep breath and decided each day, I only had one plan: and that was to try. That's it. 

Try to stick to my home learning plan
Try and make sure I get out for a walk
Try and make sure I scheduled a work post
Try and get a little bit closer to the end goal, than I was yesterday. 
but more importantly; TRY and not beat myself up if I don't.

and you know what? It worked. Eliminated, was the pressure. Gone, was the fear of not meeting deadlines. Removed, was the fear of not having a plan. And instead, I took it one day at a time..... (I mean I'm still human, this isn't the case every day... but you get my jist)

Somedays work a dream, essays get written, books get read, dinners get cooked, targets get met.... other days... I eat... that's about it. And I count that as an equal achievement. 

In a time period of 2 weeks, life for everyone has been turned upsidedown, for me; my whole way of learning has had to change. I no longer have the comfort of my classroom to help me achieve my degree, or the ability to jump on a train home whenever I want. Everything changed, for everyone. 

So who cares if all you've done is eat today. Or if you've written 1 sentence instead of 2. If the washing up didn't get done or homeschooling lasted 20 minutes.. We're doing good. Doing good working under pressures that even the most detailed and well thought out plan, wasn't prepared for. We've been faced with the impossible.

Yet we're all still trying.

That's an achievement in my books. 

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