Is isolation getting to you? How are you doing? I never thought I would miss social interactions.

I’m fairly introverted by nature. Sometimes I feel awkward or uncomfortable with large gatherings of people. I’m terrible at networking because I do not want to impose myself, my thoughts or feelings on other people. I don’t want to ask them questions about themselves as I do not want to intrude upon their privacy.

That’s not to say I cannot do these things, I just need to mentally prepare for it ahead of time. It doesn’t come as naturally to me as it may do to others.

You would think forced isolation would be a dream for me. It was. At first. I loved the idea of working from home, skipping the commute, being able to quietly and unobtrusively get things done, without having a sudden gathering appear in the work kitchen and fighting the urge to try slip out without seeming rude.

But then the zoom meetings started. It was really confronting to have meetings where it appeared as though all participants were looking right at me. I know they aren’t, they are looking at a screen full of faces, the same way I am. But that feeling of being centre stage was a little overwhelming at first. I told myself that others were not using the setting that makes me full screen every time I talked. It’s easier that way. I never thought I would find myself preferring meetings where I was sitting in the same room with a group of people, but here I am. I miss the less confronting feeling of being able to talk and listen without necessarily feeling as though everyone is looking directly at me.

Strange as it is to say- I am looking forward to getting back on campus.

Having said that, there are some things I will miss when isolation ends. No commuting has given me a few extra hours in the day to get things done. It is the same things I would normally have to do – washing dishes, cleaning the house, cooking dinner – but the pace is more relaxed, and I have time to do it with care. I’m no longer trying to squeeze it in before rushing to get my daughter to sport, or music lessons. I can take a bit more time to plan and prepare meals, I can try out things that would normally be out of the question due to the amount of preparation time needed. I don’t feel as rushed. I can do all that, and still have time to ‘relax and unwind’ which is actually easier, because …I’m not needing to relax and unwind from so many activities.

If there is a take away from this forced isolation, for me it would be finding a balance that allows me to continue living life a little bit slower. When the isolation lifts, I don’t want to fall back into the rushed lifestyle I was living before. Looking back at it now, it felt like I was trying to squeeze too much out of each day. I wonder if there is a way to hold onto the more relaxed pace I have currently, while adding back in all the extra curriculars… something like having the cake, and eating it too.

This is just one of our stories on how we are working while isolating. We’d love to hear yours. Send it to teche@mq.edu.au.

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Posted by Nathan Sollars

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