Psychological Time

So, the Summer Solstice for 2020 is now in the past. It’s all downhill from here!

As the Solstice approached last night I was thinking back to the Vernal Equinox which had happened this year on March 20th, exactly three months before. That was at the end of Study Week in the Spring Semester but the students did not return the following week and we switched to remote teaching. I find it astonishing to think that was just three months ago. It seems like ancient history. Not only that but several major events took place during that period that I find it hard place in chronological order without looking at written records (including this blog).

I am not an expert on such matters but it seems to me that the isolation, disruption of social interaction, and the loss of familiar routines imposed by work are among the things responsible distorting perception of the passage of time. I have tried to impose a regular pattern on my day during this time but only with limited success. I suspect it’s not only me who has felt like this over the past weeks and months!

It’s not just the disruption to routine of course. There was also a genuine fear of becoming infected. My last in-person lecture was on 12th March, the Thursday before Study Week. From time to time I wondered if I would ever see those students again. I also made arrangements to write a will. For a time it looked likely that intensive care facilities in Ireland might be overwhelmed so I felt it important to make contingencies of that sort. Fortunately they weren’t needed. As far as I know the Coronavirus hasn’t reached me. I certainly haven’t had any symptoms, though I haven’t actually been tested.

Overall I found the lockdown very difficult at first but I think adjusted reasonably well despite (or perhaps because of?) having very peculiar dreams.

Now that the Covid-19 restrictions are gradually being wound down hopefully some measure of routine will resume and the sense of disorientation will fade. Time will tell.

6 Responses to “Psychological Time”

  1. Ditto, *downloaded the ‘Power of Attorney’ documents for the same reasons. Here in Oz, early restrictions have had untold benefits, but extreme caution is still the best policy everywhere.
    *But still haven’t filled them in lol

  2. I seem to be in a minority of one on this, but my life as a single academic hasn’t changed all that much during the lockdown. Apart from the remote teaching, which I quite enjoyed, my lockdown existence since March hasn’t been all that different to what I experience every summer….
    i.e. reading and writing research papers, caring for an elderly relative, reading and writing papers, going for long walks,
    reading and writing papers, tennis, reading and writing papers, going for a cycle etc…not v exciting I’ll admit but no big change there

    • telescoper Says:

      Well, as Head of Department, my workload went up enormously. Looking at the huge list of things to do before September I can see I’m not going to get any summer holidays either. Still, at least I’ve still got a job which is more than many people can say!

      • Yes, I noticed in our place that COVId had an enormous effect of year tutors, course leaders and HoDs…it seesm to have amplified one of the great inequalities of third level, those stuck with large amounts of admin and those with less

  3. P.S. Which reminds me, if you ever get to the end of all that admin, do have a glance at that email I sent and let me know if I’m misreading the Eds paper!

  4. […] posted before about the way the Covid-19 pandemic has played havoc with my perception of the passage of time and […]

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