Categories
Features

Unusual celebrations in an unusual year

The year 2020 was hard for a variety of reasons and for many students, it did not end on a particularly optimistic note. As more lockdown restrictions were placed due to a new and easily spread variant of the virus, the majority of people were forced to change their plans for the holiday period.

Consequently, for some, it was a moment of reflection and a truly appreciated break just to themselves, while others tried to make the best out of what they had in these difficult times.

Some students decided to stay in Edinburgh in the end. One student from the Manchester region decided to skip the journey back home this year, as they thought it was the more responsible thing to do.

Despite the technology at hand and a constant possibility to stay in touch with the loved ones, people emphasised that the break this year did not feel like holidays at all.

The situation was easier on those who could spend this time with their flatmates, as they felt less alone and it made them form closer, more personal connections.

Still, anxieties remained, as having an influx of spare time without university work created space for overthinking, increasing feelings of loneliness amongst isolated students.

To another second-year student, this year’s holiday was the best they had ever experienced. Thoroughly enjoying the freedom they were given, this particular student was happy to spend the free time in an unsupervised manner.

The holidays are sometimes overwhelming and can be especially tough for university students. Living in two different realities, of home and campus lifestyles, sometimes allows for one’s identity to become lost in translation.

In such cases, avoiding the holiday hassle and missing out on uncomfortable questions from the relatives might carry benefits for some people’s mental health. Even though some peace and quiet might sound like an underwhelming vision of celebration, it turned out to be precisely what some of us needed.

It was one student’s idea to enjoy this unusual holiday season to get in touch with old friends: “I reached out to people that I was too busy to contact during the semester.” Another individual happily reflects on how they got a chance to grow closer to others who had to cancel their travel plans, as they all formed a common bubble and spent this time together.

It gave them a chance to learn different customs and traditions from each other, which was both fun and an interesting experience to lift up the nostalgia and dream for future possibilities to celebrate properly.

“I was supposed to go home, enjoy some delicious food and see my relatives. Instead, I saw my flatmate baking a cake with just vegetable oil, flour and sugar at 3 am in the morning. And, frankly, I don’t regret the outcome,” another student spending the holiday in Edinburgh reflects.

Different does not necessarily mean worse. As the past year has taught us to reinterpret what normal means, redefining the holiday celebration is perhaps a part of the overall experience.

Now, however, with strict restrictions still in place, many people are struggling to return to Edinburgh, so the travel plans will need to be adjusted again. So perhaps, not having specific plans might be the best strategy for now.

Image: neolie via Pixabay