As you may have noticed, I haven't been very active on here lately. Suffice to say, 2020 has really done a number on my mental health.
Back in March, I made the spur-of-the-moment decision to go back to my hometown. The idea was that if there was a lockdown, I'd be spending it with my parents rather than on my own in my student accommodation. The only problem was that I ended up staying at home for six months, losing the independence I have at university. When you're getting closer to 30, living with your parents can really cramp your style. Especially when you've gotten used to living away from home. In normal circumstances, I would have gone home for Easter then stayed in my accommodation over the third term. After all, I would have still been paying rent for the term - although they did waive that instalment - and there's more to do in the town than in the country. I just don't have the social life at home that I have at university, so summer gets lonely. Most of the people I grew up with finished university long before I started, and are living further afield now. Those who aren't are working full-time and possibly have kids.
This pandemic happening on the tail-end of a strike by the Universities and Colleges Union meant that I missed the last month of teaching. Fortunately, the university extended all post-March deadlines and implemented a "No-Detriment" policy to ensure that marks affected by the loss of teaching time would not affect overall grades. I was able to pass my second year, but since I wasn't able to celebrate with my friends on the course, I didn't get much of a sense of accomplishment out of it. I hit a major creative slump after running out of deadlines, but I did finish the first draft of a screenplay for Camp NaNoWriMo in July.
One of my biggest highlights of the summer is my annual visit to the Swanwick Writers' Summer School, but that got cancelled as well. That hit me pretty hard, especially because I wasn't able to do much over the summer. My parents went on a couple of walking holidays, but I wasn't invited. I don't actually like walking holidays, but I was resentful of the fact that they could go on holiday when I couldn't, not having access to a car and public transport being too unreliable in the country.
I went back to university in October, but pandemic student life feels a lot like a soulless 9 to 5, which I originally went to university to get away from. I have one virtual class every week, and another class every other week which was on campus for one session and subsequently moved online. Everything else is my portfolio. Societies have either moved online or haven't gone ahead, and I can't have parties unless they're online.
Anyway, anything good happen this year? Well, I was finally able to (legally) watch The Mandalorian. The second season has been fantastic, and I'll say it's been almost as good as The Empire Strikes Back. I also got to finally experience my favourite roleplaying system, Savage Worlds, as a player rather than as a GM. I've even on occasion been allowed to playtest a setting that's in the works.
I hope this vaccine gets rolled out soon.
Fuck off 2020.