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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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On 2020 time

Opinion+writer+Ozioma+Mgbahurike+tries+to+make+sense+of+why+time+feels+like+it+is+moving+differently+during+the+pandemic.
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Opinion writer Ozioma Mgbahurike tries to make sense of why time feels like it is moving differently during the pandemic.

2020 appears to be a season of “Black Mirror” that is too long, and each month has tried to one-up the last obstacle. As a reminder, the first week of the year started with people wondering whether a Third World War was on the horizon. If that did not foreshadow the rest of the year’s tone, I do not know what did. With less than 80 days into a new year, filled with much promise and hope, life came to an abrupt halt. The words “social distancing” entered our lexicon, schools suspended spring graduation ceremonies, and prominent cities virtually looked like ghost towns in weeks. I know time is a fixed measurement, but I indeed saw the passing of time as genuinely subjective for the first time in my life. The stay-at-home mandates held our lives at a standstill, and the pandemic warped our sense of time.
We all know the phrase “time flies when you are having fun,” and there’s research to back it up. However, this is also a two-way street. Time appears to drag on when we lack the motivation to do anything productive. This pandemic has created unlimited moments of those. The burden of an epidemic mixed with remote learning during my first year of college was hefty for me to bear, and with that came feelings of stress and nervousness. These feelings led to a lack of desire to do anything productive, with the earlier months of the year feeling like they went on forever. The paradoxical nature of time, dragging on and vanishing instantly, can be attributed to these feelings. Being out of my daily school routine and structure completely threw me out of the loop. Time appeared to fly by because I did not accomplish anything productive in that span. This paradox helps explain why March felt like it would last forever, but if you blinked, you’d miss the entire month of April.
I admit I am very fortunate to be in a scenario where boredom is my biggest concern. At the same time, the brave healthcare workers tackle the virus head-on. The amount of work they put in during the earlier parts of the year gave an appearance of time moving quickly. However, these same individuals are also experiencing enormous amounts of stress and anxiety. After seeing the national response to the pandemic, I knew we would be in it for the long run, and I felt an incredible feeling of calmness. I was able to find a schedule and routine that would provide me with some mental stability and balance. That lasted a good two weeks. I should have known any peace in 2020 was too good to be true. Even in a pandemic, America invents new ways to betray Black people. It’s one time to deal with an epidemic affecting us at a higher rate than other demographics. Nevertheless, we also had to navigate our way through blatant racism from the likes of Amy Cooper to state-funded police brutality that led to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others.
The months of June and July were the most overwhelming and excruciating months I have experienced in all my years of living. Disheartening events filled those months with heavy isolation, grief and depression that I am still going through. Each week presented negative news that only reinforced the shared trauma among Black people across the country. It appeared as if there was no end in sight of all the pain. It also didn’t help to see Texas A&M University trending on Twitter only for negative remarks. Seeing the counter-protest to Black Lives Matter with the dismissive and ignorant tag like “Maroon Lives Matter” only increased my worries for what the fall semester would look like. I am still a work-in-progress getting out of rock bottom with the stable foundation I have with my close friends, family and therapy. Setting goals and events I was excited to accomplish was very helpful in passing the time. Furthermore, stopping my daily intake of social media did wonders that I never thought possible. Most importantly, taking the time to talk meaningfully with friends and family was the ladder that got me out of the hole I was in.
2020 is a year that will stay with us for a very long time, and it may be overwhelming to remember all of the things that have happened in one month alone. Our perception of time has warped so severely that many of us are not aware of its effect until we retroactively look back on it. There’s a concern for what feels like a lost sense of purpose, but that can be tackled with healthy relationships, hobbies and a schedule to help with our experienced notion of time.
Ozioma Mgbahurike is an electrical engineering sophomore and opinion writer for The Battalion.

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