When I did my undergraduate degree at Reading, I specifically picked accommodation that was not on campus, but not too far from it either. I couldn’t face being enclosed in a campus, and it had been my initial wish to join a city university (instead of trying to convince us that you pick the wedding dress you don’t expect to like, they should argue we pick the opposite of what we expect, campus v city unis). For various reasons, that didn’t work out, and I ended up falling in love with the greenery, open spaces (the lake!) and the layout of Reading’s campus anyway, so it became my pleasure to study there, not my pain.
In any case, I, by fortune rather than order, was never more than a half hour’s walk from my lectures every year. And that suited me perfectly, to have a brisk walk in the crisp mornings of the Michaelmas and Hilary terms.
Perhaps, I got too used to it.
Indeed, I have always loved London, so it is not much of a culture shock to be living and working/studying here. However, of all the tedium and issues one would have about London…I guess it never occurred to me how draining I’d find commuting in every day. I don’t live too far from the UCL campus and linguistics’ Chandler House, but the bus I take is still 30 minutes in good (London) traffic. I could take the tube – but, let’s be realistic, I can’t afford that luxury on a daily basis. I have savings, but I don’t have income. Soon, my savings will be gone.
I’m usually one to keep busy. I’ll try and fill my evenings with activities, because that has been how I relax. But lately, it only feels like effort. Trying to catch the bus at the right time to be able to arrive on time for events; working out when and how quickly I have to get home, so I have time to cook dinner before leaving again – if there would be time for dinner at all. I’m running around all the time, and I often wonder of the point of doing these extracurricular activities I have loved before when I have more stress by thinking of them.
Perhaps it is the night. We in GMT gained an hour last Sunday. Sounds good, but it means that some days I will not be home before it gets dark. This is one of the reasons Summer is my favourite season – the hours of glorious sunshine, Vitamin D are maximised. Even then, though, I’d get exhausted by 9pm.
I learned a few months ago about Spoon Theory, and I do find myself using it more in conversation nowadays. “Are you going to the event?” “Probably not, I feel out of spoons.” To me, I equate it with the feelings of social exhaustion I get from being around many people at once or for a prolonged period of times. That’s definitely a problem at the moment as our classes are all the same people, most doing General Ling. Like me. The same people over and over.
I sound like a terrible person, don’t I? Humans are social creatures; we are meant to hang out and share and understand each other.
But some of us can’t hack it. Don’t blame.
As such, however, sometimes I have to let things drop off the radar. Sometimes, that’s going to events with friends or peers, other times that’s forfeiting a piece of uni work because relaxing and completing it are incompatible – and sometimes it’s leaving my blogging schedule behind and not feeling pressured to come up with a topic or follow through with a post I’ve started writing.
It’s true – there are many I’ve left by the wayside, including reviews I started years ago for things I always wanted to review but never had the energy to continue. That’s okay. I might do it one day. Or maybe I won’t. I have no Fear of Missing Out.
Do I have certain priorities for what I need to do? To stop myself losing spoons?
I don’t know. Of course, blogging isn’t my priority and university work is, but the situation isn’t as black and white as that; it depends on the day, how much work I’ve done, when I woke up. There are so many factors.
So…wait and see is all I can say.