Ah, to memories of human contact and public spaces.

It has been a while since I have seen another student’s face (physically, at least) and I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty isolated. While a lot of people seem to be going on with their daily lives, students are still stuck at home, trying to fly at ‘UPisa’. I may be in Honours but I am still not equipped to self-study! I feel like I have no idea what I am doing, trying to navigate a whole degree in the dark. It is also made a lot worse by having to face it alone. While it is a huge help to have platforms like Google Meet and Zoom (maybe even Blackboard Collaborate when it works) to keep in contact and engage with our fellow students, at the end of the day we are isolated in our respective homes. And that can be pretty lonely. I am still learning to cope with this and it is something I personally battle with a lot. I can admit that I did not have the psychological coping skills to navigate this time, and my mental health has taken a beating. It is very overwhelming to live through a pandemic and I’d love to hear how things have been for you. Let me know about your lockdown experience at editor@ pdby.co.za. Write a letter, and it could be published in the next edition of PDBY.

Thankfully, exams are over and we can breathe a sigh of relief. We made it through the semester! And, if anything, we will always be able to say we did it during a pandemic. It can feel a bit pointless – well, at least to me – to keep working so hard and pushing through your curriculum when it seems like the world is falling apart around us. But we have still each made it through another semester, and are one step closer to our degrees. When life does inevitably go back to normal, we will all be able to look back with pride that we kept going. So if you feel despondent or that your hard work isn’t worth it anymore, remember that there is an ‘after’ to the pandemic, and we need to keep going right now, to flourish then. The UP meme pages (@life_at_tuks, @cry_at_up, @tuks_facultyofmemes and @tuksmemes) also deserve a shout out for their role in keeping us connected and sane over the past five months. We appreciate it!

But, that aside, PDBY is back with your second semester editions! And we have some exciting projects planned for this semester, so keep your eyes on @ PDBYMedia! Hint – it’s a lot glossier than our usual publications. We are also still dedicated to keeping you up to date with Your Campus News – even if it is a bit quieter than usual. We have also recently launched PDBYlive, which are live streams with featured UP and South African artists.

During such a difficult time, it is important to support local artists and luckily for us, we have some amazing talent at UP. If you want to be featured or know someone that does, email your information to entertainment@pdby.co.za.

For now though, I hope everyone can relish the little bit of a break until classes start again. Hopefully we will all be able to see our campus again this year and attend some actual classes. But if not, we can still make it through and survive the mess of 2020. Don’t lose hope, and keep pushing.

Until next time, get some rest and stay safe!

Kayla Thomas

PDBY is the official student newspaper of the University of Pretoria.
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