Experiences of 2020

Fatma - Assistant Editor

Hi, my name is Fatma and I’m an assistant editor based in Glasgow.

Before the pandemic, I was struggling - trying to land a stable job post graduation was not as fun as it seemed. Having to handle rejections, trying to meet with anyone that could be a possible lead, checking every possible source for any possible openings every single day...etc. Things weren’t looking so bright. Trying to get into a field like mine as a beginner with barely any contacts was a nightmare. But all of that turned around when I got a phone call for a job I’d been hoping to get since graduation.

Cut to a week later however - lockdown was announced. I sat there thinking back to when everyone told me the future was uncertain and not to rely on any life “plans.” I had to give it to them. They really knew what they were talking about... Having everything be so uncertain in the first stages of your career is annoying, yet expected. But having everyone’s future become so unexpected all at once was unchartered territory. And trying to manage through that wasn’t/isn’t easy.

It was very hard to stay motivated in such uncertain times. One minute everything seemed fine and then the next you were calling every person you know, hoping for their safety and wellbeing. Most of my family are abroad where things such as free healthcare are practically unheard of. Almost all the women in my life have been heavily affected by the pandemic as well, those who lost jobs, those still waiting to hear back ever since furlough had been removed and those going through medical conditions that require regular hospital visits. A friend even gave birth in the middle of this whole thing.

At first, thanks to zoom and netflix party, I was able to maintain virtual social contact as best as I could. But as things moved on, I found myself slowly falling into a pit of isolation that I still feel stuck in to this day. I’m not sure how to interact normally anymore and ALWAYS second guess every single thought that comes to my head. Should I say this? Should I text that person? Should I just delete all my social media and just disappear? Y'know, the usual. The weirdest thing though was going through Ramadan during lockdown. This is the time where everyone you know comes together to practice this holy month. It was very unconventional to say the least.

My mental health took a big fall during lockdown after so much progress had been done over the years. My anxiety and eating worsened and there was no immediate help for that. I had to try and manage it on my own. Everyone else seemed to be making use of this “free time” whereas I was stuck in this unhealthy state.

A really odd thing that kept me going though was that everyone was affected by this. Maybe that’s a really selfish way of looking at it… But it’s true. We were all in the same boat, trying to navigate in such unfamiliar territory. I’m not singled out going through this alone. We all kind of had each other.

If I were to leave you with any message, it would be to let go of things that are out of your control. Trust me, I’m more than aware that it’s easier said than done. But it’s something I’ll always strive to do, and one day hope to achieve.