Helena Nuttall

In light of both our recent ‘Fresher’s Week’ on The Notable, as well as tighter restrictions and rumours of a second lockdown, I have dug up a piece that I wrote in my first year of university centred around the topic of boredom. While it is a reflection of life as a student, it still applies to many of us having spent such a lengthy period of time at home trying to keep busy. This piece has been a comforting reminder to me that boredom can be the result of a negative mindset, and techniques such as planning the day or writing to-do lists can work to alleviate it. It is also a reminder that not everyday of our lives will be exciting and action-packed, but having settled down into a routine after writing this in first year, I trust that things will eventually go back to normal, or perhaps the ‘new normal’ that politicians are talking about. It is very common to feel isolated at these times, but having spoken to Kirsty about it three years ago and then having the same conversation with her three years later, I realise that many of us will be in the same boat and creating connection with people sometimes comes from admitting to being in that place.

Change can be difficult to accustom to, and living in such uncertain times is challenging, but it’ll only serve in the long-run to increase our resilience, and create a generation able to adapt to any circumstance.

‘‘You’re not bored, you’re boring.”
This is a statement I’d seen on a poster and given very little thought to before I suffered from boredom myself. The word ‘bored’ is defined as ‘feeling weary and impatient because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one’s current activity.’
Kirsty and I have discovered that the state of boredom has a tendency to spiral. If you have a boring morning, you’ll have a boring afternoon. If you wake up feeling bored, you’ll go to bed feeling bored. It has the potential to take over every aspect of one’s life.
When I first received my uni timetable I was overjoyed. Two days of lectures… and the rest of the week off…allowing me a five day weekend. Obviously I would have to factor in essays and assignments (and the ton of extra reading that comes with a degree in English Literature) but it still felt like a dream come true. However, after leaving a job I wasn’t happy in I soon started to miss the feeling of motivation that comes with having to wake up early in the morning and get ready for a working day. It would be impossible to spend all my extra time sitting at a desk doing work for uni and I very quickly felt at a loose end. I found that the less I did, the more of a task small things such as taking out the bins or tidying my clothes off the floor became, and the less energy I used up, the less energetic I seemed to feel. I thought I was the only person who felt this way, but after talking to Kirsty about it I realised this wasn’t the case. We both came from schools that kept us busy from dawn till dusk and while that was tiring and at times quite stressful, we realise now how rewarding it is to be able to go to bed having achieved all kinds of different things throughout the day.
Having done some research, one of the apparent eight reasons for boredom is a ‘lack of flow,’ or simply not moving swiftly between one task to another. As a hopeless procrastinator, I find it really difficult to get on with whatever I need to do if I know I’ll have the opportunity to do it later. This is why I find it helpful to schedule my day, and plan in breaks and fun things to do ahead, as a way of motivating myself. I feel far more likely to crack on with an assignment if I know I’m going out that evening or have other pressing things that I need to do that day. I haven’t found my modules this term all that thrilling but I know if I keep myself busy I’ll be able get through them without giving the boredom factor too much thought.
Holidays and time-off cannot be enjoyed fully unless they are well-deserved, so it is definitely worthwhile fighting boredom by carrying a work-hard, play-hard mentality with us always.
Helena xoxo

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