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I don’t know if you’ve looked around lately, but the world is a bit of a mess right now. As frightening as 2020 has been so far, some bloggers and social media influencers have begun to spread the message that if you’re not learning a new skill, becoming fluent in another language, or achieving a whole new level of productivity, that you are somehow a failure. And to that, I say absolutely not. In these uncertain times, you don’t have to embark on a sort of self-improvement journey. Instead, just be kind to yourself, and to others, for that matter.

In the middle of a global pandemic and all sorts of additional personal or financial stressors, there is absolutely no need to reinvent the wheel or become the next bread baking prodigy. Why do I mention bread you ask? Well, I’ve sort of fallen down the boredom-sourdough-baking rabbit hole. As someone who loves to bake and identifies as a major foodie, I thought this might be a fun project to occupy my time. However, I do not expect to become a sourdough goddess by the time I can leave my house again, nor do I really want to become her either. I chose this project simply for the sake of doing something that makes me happy in a time where we could all use some extra magic in our lives. So, rather than feel pressure to master a skill, if you so choose to try something new, pick something that makes you smile, and if it flops, let it and move on. You are not any lesser for this, and now more than ever is simply not the time to beat yourself up over something as meaningless as a loaf of bread.

Now, about those who are around you. They are also being subjected to these kinds of messages and pressures. And whilst staying connected throughout all of this is undoubtedly important, now is not the time to be judging who your true friends really are based on who you spend the most time on Zoom with. While they might be happy to chat and socialize, some of your friends might be really struggling, and would simply prefer to keep to themselves. Don’t hold this against them. Rather, I encourage you to be extra understanding during this time, check in on these people once in a while or reach out when you could use some support, and don’t take it too personal.

We all deal with crises differently. Some of us bake bread, some of us curl up in bed. There is absolutely no shame in doing whatever you need to feel okay right now. Be safe. Be healthy. And most importantly, be kind.

Stephanie Shin

U Alberta '22

Stephanie Shin (she/her) is a third year honours pre-law student, majoring in sociology and minoring in political science. When she's not studying fervently, you can find her enjoying a book, sipping at a cup of tea, playing with her miniature dachshund, Bentley, and spending entirely too much money on food.
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