In March 2020, I was in my first year and second term at UBC Sauder. I was caught up in running to my next class, going to Timmies and finding a quiet space to study.
Then UBC shut down and my life became boring.
Instead of walking to class, I walked to my desk and opened my laptop. I DoorDashed and all I had was quiet. My eyes were glued to the screen for hours watching my professors try to navigate Zoom and repeat the phrase, “We will do breakout rooms now!”
I missed the chaos of university life no matter how stressful because, as an extrovert, loneliness is fatal.
I am a Type A person and I have my whole life planned out. I want to be a CPA and have two golden doodles. I have spreadsheets (colour coded!) for everything imaginable.
March to April was when I was truly frazzled. A lot of opportunities that I wanted were either gone, postponed or remote. My fear and hatred of uncertainty made my anxiety sky rocket to the moon. After a pep talk from my older sister (who is way calmer than me), I was able to stop freaking out and make a new spreadsheet (yes, really).
By May, I was enrolled in four summer courses. Summer school was uneventful to say the least. Same Zoom screen, same desk and same water bottle. No new friends or faces. Just squares on Zoom. My loneliness increased by 1,000 per cent during summer. Even being in a class of 100 students, I never felt more isolated from my Sauder community.
After another pep talk from my sister, I decided I was not going to wallow.
I was exploring the attic one day when I found my One Direction posters. I think they were deemed uncool in Grade 10 and so I went from “avid Directioner” to “One Direction as if” girl. I went back to my computer and pulled up my Spotify. The first songs I had favoured were One Direction songs. I remember how their music never made me feel alone when I was going through hard times. Looking back at it, I realized how silly it was for me to stop listening to them just because some teenagers (I don’t even remember their names) deemed it was not cool.
“Okay Google, play One Direction” became my new phrase. I again became enamored with those five of boys who had swept me off my feet in 2010. I especially fell more in love with Harry Styles. Etsy and Amazon searches for “Harry Styles posters” took up most of my browser history. I found TikTok trends and Facebook groups about One Direction and Harry Styles too. I became obsessed. No other word for it.
The loneliness I had been feeling because of the pandemic slowly melted away because their songs had always made me feel safe and at peace. I started having One Direction dance breaks between classes, study sessions and endless club Zoom meetings. I felt happier than I had in months.
By September, having done more online school than in person school at UBC, I felt ready to take on Year 2. I wouldn’t have been able to have a spectacular Linkedin and GPA (yes, I am bragging!) without my One Direction dance breaks. Their lyrics made me believe in myself again and grounded me back to reality.
When your world is falling apart (or so you think), crank up some of your favorite tunes and start dancing! This is the best advice I can give to my fellow Type A,super anxious people out there. Anything that helps you become grounded and calm will help you succeed – take my word for it!
Pandemic life is hard, but dancing isn’t!