“Big night?” “Nah mate, big year”: The COVID Hangover

When my dad came home from work the other day, I could tell something was up. He walked into the living room, collapsed onto the couch and let out a big sigh. He clearly had a rough day.

Reluctantly, I asked how his day was. He sighed again and said “It’s just weird at work at the moment. I feel like everyone’s got a massive COVID hangover”.

I laughed at his response for moment. But I realised how true this was. Everywhere you looked, everyone seemed to be reacting and recovering to this pandemic in very different ways.

There have been articles about people feeling hangover from the lingering symptoms of COVID-19. There’s also been discussion about how the COVID hangover has affected working mothers, the economy, the hospitality industry and even the number of kids signing up for junior sport.

But what about how university students are feeling returning to campus after a year of remote learning?

Everyone reacts differently after a big night on the town – some get a headache, some throw up and some wake up feeling as fresh as a daisy with no hangover at all.

And it seems like students are reacting in completely different ways after returning to face to face learning.

Some students found it hard to stay motivated and connect with their peers throughout the pandemic and could not WAIT to get back to campus. Others thrived learning online and wish classes could remain on Zoom.

Some students feel overwhelmed by the return of face-to-face learning. Suddenly, ‘normal’ life has resumed, and we’re back to juggling our studies, work, sport, social lives and extra-curricular activities. After having so much time to kill in iso (whether it was by baking banana bread, walking or finishing off a jigsaw puzzle) it seems we’re all time-poor once again.

For me, this semester is like no other I have ever experienced. That seems silly to say after the chaos that was 2020. But as students, we’ve either experienced university entirely in person or entirely online. Now we’re trying to navigate this hybrid model of online learning AND face-to-face learning. I, like many others, have struggled to establish a routine this semester going between the virtual and real world so often.

This is a super weird time for us all. But staying connected to those around you can make it all a little easier. Don’t be afraid to reach out – whether you catch up with a friend for coffee or even a chilled out study session. You even might like to come along to an online or a face to face Shut Up & Study session.

I guess, all in all, we need to appreciate that this is a very unique transition we are all experiencing. And if you are struggling with the return to face-to-face learning and need someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to reach out to La Trobe’s Counselling Services for support.

Steph