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A different but refreshing start of year

January 2021 may not have been like how some imagined a few months ago, but perhaps it is not as bad as imagined either. With the number of cases around now and the third installment of lockdown, things may seem a bit bleak. Although, at Maynooth University January is a constant, as January is always exam month. Depending on your point of view it can seem like an added stress, but at least from mine, it is a great distraction. At the very least there aren’t as many social distractions to keep one from focusing on academics. As much as I enjoy diving into my studies, I still need some outside interests to not overwhelm myself with schoolwork or current events though. 

As one may know, gyms have opened and closed through lockdowns, which has made strength training on my part a bit more difficult than usual. Whilst I still have a membership to my local gym, I have also taken to working out at home using resistance bands, as well as enjoying long walks around my neighborhood. There are many benefits from taking part in at least thirty minutes of cardiovascular activity a day, so from that perspective, there is nothing to lose. It is important to take care of your body, since as far as I’m aware you only get one. I usually go for about two hours a day, depending on the weather. While I am on my long walks I enjoy listening to podcasts such as Lore or Old Gods of Appalachia, listening to Italian audiobooks, or just plain old music.  The good thing about living in Ireland is that there is plenty of nature around, so that is a comforting factor to keep in mind.  Every now and the  I’ll take a picture of my surroundings, as I’m lucky enough to live very close to the River Liffey.

Even so, it is all about time management in the end, and also making sure to enjoy that time in the end too. Perhaps it is a bit more difficult to plan future events with the uncertainties at hand, but maybe that fact will allow us to be more surprised too. It would be great to hear what others have done in their free time whilst they were not studying for exams. There is a week after exams where we enjoy a small break before semester two, and I will have lots of free time to enjoy more walks, but I’d also like to expand my interests this year too. I guess what one can learn from the past year is that nothing is set in stone, and while thinking of the future is important, one can never forget that the present also needs to be appreciated too. This time last year I think we all may have taken certain luxuries for granted, so it is our responsibility to really live in the moment when we can move towards a new future, where we can enjoy those luxuries once again.

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