Discirmination and hate crimes have exacerbated after the COVID-19 outbreak, which has been used to reinforce xenophobic beliefs.
With the popularization and de-stigmatization of mental health, psychology has entered the zeitgeist in a way that it never has before. Words such as ‘trauma’, ‘gaslighting’ and ‘toxic’ have become buzzwords, often misused.
On a Zoom call the other day, I was showing my grandmother photos of my time at university from what felt like a lifetime ago. Grainy images filled her little screen — my friends and I at Regent’s Park on a picnic, a cute little snap of a dog wearing a puffer vest, and a rare sunny day in London. I saw her eyebrows jump in slow motion as the video buffered on my phone.
For decades littering has been a hidden pandemic, often overlooked in plain sight, and this past year it has reached a new level of severity.
Disclaimer: this is not an anti-‘side hustle culture’ rant. I admire small businesses and passion projects. I also won’t be criticising capitalism or writing a manifesto on our growing need to turn ourselves into commodities. I’m wary of what Economics students will say, and besides, I feed into and benefit from capitalism myself everyday.
How does one judge the value of art? It is no easy feat. How can something so broad as ‘the arts’ be understood through the completely subjective lens of ‘value’?
From an age when we can barely stand on our own feet, all of us are directed down a certain way of life according to socially assigned gender roles — a template set by the generations of working men and housewives that came before us. Young girls were presented with tiny kitchen sets, whilst boys were faced with hammers and saws in the not-so-distant past, with no space for either gender to experiment with their identities.
It all started in January 2021. Whilst drafting an article for The Sundial Journal’s first edition on “The challenges students face with sustainable fashion”, my mental health declined, and I was unable to write the article. I was so frustrated with this relapse and that, of all the days in the year, that it happened when I was actually doing something really cool and exciting. Virtually nobody got through 2020 without experiencing these emotions.
When you are young, nobody warns you that the times you break up with your friends might be more regular and just as painful as when you break up with romantic partners. This is because we live in a society that prioritises romantic love over all other kinds, as reflected in our popular culture.
I have tried to write this article three times now and failed. Each time I think, am I going too far? Is someone going to shout at me if I write about this? But this is an issue that has gone on for far too long and appears as an accepted fact of life when attending a top university. It is something we need to acknowledge.