Collage idea by Jaden with wave image by Gerd Altmann and house image by Prawny, both from Pixabay
Jaden Okyere discusses how the lockdown affected his school, life and work ethic
During the lockdown period I have become a bit too self-aware with everything that I needed to work on.
For example, I found it hard to complete important tasks on time and to a high quality. I didn’t really think much about this in secondary school; I managed to do well in my GCSEs. But when I went to college my work routine needed some revising but no revision was made.
The way I got projects done in college was waiting, not doing anything and then doing it within the two weeks it was due. It (almost) killed me during the first lockdown.
The most memorable thing to happen to me during the second lockdown was making a music magazine for college. The magazine is called ‘Not So Indie’. This was my big final project. Creating it took a lot of time and effort. Most of the interviews and the articles were written by me.
I wrote two reviews and the rest were by my online reviewer friends. I avoided working on this project for a long time. It took me realising that I would fail to give me motivation to finish. Eventually, I started on the project and it was fun to do. Choosing the layout myself, choosing what albums I wanted to review and who to interview.
George Floyd pulled the topic of police brutality, in America and in the world, from the back of people’s mind to the front of it
During lockdown it was hard not to notice what was going in the world. We were all trapped at home, we all saw the video of George Floyd’s death. It was a horrible time for everyone: black or white. George Floyd pulled the topic of police brutality, in America and in the world, from the back of people’s mind to the front of it. I felt some new worries in my mind about my trust in and relationship with policing. To this day I still wonder if I internalised some racism in myself. To combat this feeling I have been reading more books written by black authors.
To be honest, I don’t know how I recovered from the lockdown. Writing in my journal/diary hybrid gave me the space to take these feelings out of my head to somewhere else. I would put down thoughts about school and life, plus poems. Another thing that helped me escape is getting into indie pop bands like Alvvays, Beach Bunny and Sidney Gish and getting very invested in the fandom community for these bands/artists. It made feel human and connected.
Thinking about relationships with other human beings, I learnt that I find it hard to connect to other people on a personal level. I think this can be associated to the fear I have of people finding me too weird and loud. This could possibly be related to my autism because I find it hard to know if people generally like me as a person, not just feel sorry for me since I’m that ‘crazy autistic kid’.
Going back to the places I love, like book stores and libraries, made me realise they still exist
During lockdown one of the things I missed was going to the library and the cinema. Those places are my comfort. I haven’t been to the cinema but I have been to the library and borrowed lots of books which has made me feel productive. Going back to the places I love, like book stores and libraries, made me realise that they still exist.
Lockdown has made me understand that I have a short attention span. I spend too much time on YouTube and Twitter. This habit is making it hard for me to focus on projects that need to be done; like the article I’m writing now!
Don’t get me wrong. I love social media but I want to use it less. Digital balance is a feature on my phone that I will use to block my phone at a set time. I will set it back an hour each week, do it slow and steady to not go insane with boredom. I would like to replace social media time with reading more books and looking for volunteer/job opportunities or apprenticeships.
I must put the idea in my head that I need to get projects done before they become a terrifying task to attempt
A big obvious problem that I have is… you guessed it… pro-crasti-nation! I think I have a good solution for this. It’s not perfect but I need to keep my mum and aunt up to date with deadlines so they can check in to see if the work is being done and handed in on time. Independence is another thing I need to work on, as I can’t rely on help from my family alone. I must put the idea in my head that I need to get projects done before they become a terrifying task to attempt.
Looking to a future version of myself, I would like to think that I can have a bit more control of my Internet usage. I would at least have some idea of what I would want out of life. Hopefully, I would feel more confident in myself. I also hope to have at least one ‘real’ friend; not on the Internet, in real life.
If you’re struggling with Internet addiction see these five tips to control it and enable you to study more effectively.
If you’re struggling with making friends these tips may help.
Jaden has an interest in writing, reading young adult/middle-grade novels and listening to Indie Pop music. He took Creative Media Production at City and Islington. In the future, he would like to write about music or books (or both!).