Unprecedented seems to be a word we keep hearing, again and again. On the news, throughout university update emails, and even on seemingly every social media post out there. It’s reflective of what we’re experiencing now, something entirely unexpected, that we haven’t had time to prepare for or adjust to.
What we do have time to think about, however, is the period after coronavirus, where supposedly things will go back to normal. We’re seeing it all over Facebook – people excited for the Summer next year, where we’ll celebrate overcoming this, and go outside and play enough to make up for this year.
With recent government updates suggesting that it may take up to 6 months for anything to return to normal, some of us may be starting to question what that normal really entails. How can there ever be a normal after these ‘unprecedented’ times?
The recovery period which will inevitably occur for the next few years isn’t one we seem to be considering enough about. And this won’t just mean financial recovery for small businesses and individuals whose losses will be significantly harder to overcome, it means the mental effects of having been in self-isolation for the last six months. The anxiety that we have now about the global pandemic is definitely significant, but so will be the anxiety that will arise from trying to make things seem normal again. From going outside, back to social spaces, with your friends and loved ones, but still worrying about the possibility of catching the virus. From missing and mourning those who won’t be with us anymore, something that we won’t just get used to by October.
For final year students, who have spent their entire education awaiting the moment where they walk across the stage in their cap and gown, the memories lost never to be regained aren’t something they’ll simply get over in 6 months. An entire generation of students will enter the workforce and the real world, without having properly left university behind, so really, perhaps those are the unprecedented times we should be preparing for.