By Meghna Amin
Whilst the past eight months have been a bore of being stuck inside with very little to do, the news constantly burdening our anxieties with lockdown updates, and the impending loom of not being allowed home for Christmas weighing on all our minds, I (probably alongside many more of you) found a new love: TikTok.
Added to the ever growing list of ways to waste time on my phone, whether that be editing my already refined Spotify playlist, watching just one more episode of Hell’s Kitchen, or digging deeper into the beef between Chrishell and Christine, staying home all the time has just meant my addiction to Netflix, Amazon Prime, TikTok and all the other wonderful apps on my phone has gone through the roof.
Except, that’s really not so great when university has finally started. Online university, that is.
Now, not only do I have to deal with the effort of structuring my own day around virtual learning, combat the urge to constantly be studying all cosy in bed, and battle the idea of staying in pyjamas and just keeping my Zoom webcam off, there’s now also the internal struggle of just wanting to watch one more episode via some form of streaming, instead of watching that one more Encore lecture I should have already caught up on.
For the last two years of university, cozying up under my duvet and binging a show was something for the day after Klute, or a Sunday afternoon-off when it was raining outside and there was nothing more to do than drift off. But now, as a final year student, free time no longer means free time. It ought to mean job applications, getting ahead of Summatives, running societies and the endless to-do list that comes alongside being an adult. However, I can’t have fully reached that stage yet when I’m trying to justify allowing myself an afternoon off just to get through one more season of that show I’m watching.
And it’s never just that show I’m watching. For every season I get through, another six shows appear on my Netflix list, and for every ad that plays when you open Netflix up on your screen, that’s another hour wasted as you dig into another genre of TV you never really thought was your thing.
Procrastination is at it’s finest when it comes to working from home.
If I’d rather watch Netflix than do some work now, there’s no reason it’s not fine, when I can just do work later. There’s always a later during lockdown. And what’s more, allowing myself to binge a show is a form of therapy. There’s so much to be worrying about right now, the anxieties of being at university are only aligned with the anxieties of worrying about a pandemic, being away from home, and preparing for the dreaded breakout rooms, so it’s only fair we give ourselves a little time off just to relax as much as we can. And if that means binging Netflix, then that’s what I’ll do… even if it is putting the work due in at the end of Michaelmas at risk.
Maybe once the actual stress of Summative season starts, I’ll have more will-power to just turn the screen-time down. Yet, for now, indulging in another episode is the only way I’ll be dealing with the pandemic.
Illustration: Anna Kuptsova