Mental Health and Masks

edited photo of girl wearing a mask

By the time March rolled around the schools closed and we were basically evicted from our studios. Sent home into isolation because of this brand new horror called COVID-19. I was angry, and scared. In the same week I lost my job, and so did my partner. How was I going to pay bills, make rent, or feed my dog? I spent the first two weeks of this time barely showering or eating, sleeping at whatever time of night or day, and obsessively watching the news. I watched social media influencers “bettering themselves”, telling us this was a “unique opportunity”, and “when else will you ever have so much free time??” Perhaps for some people, having no schedule, no job, and nowhere to go is an opportunity, but for people with mental health issues, it’s disastrous. I know I’m not alone in this; many people, especially in my generation, are suffering from depression, anxiety, and other issues, but having people to interact with and a schedule to force us into action was helping some with managing those issues. I had to come to a point of acceptance and compassion for myself. Thankfully, I am back to work, and obviously my mental state is better. I hope as everyone goes back to “normal”, that they remember to keep safe, wash their hands, and wear a mask. We are all in this together.

Submitted by

Emma Darbyshire

Summer of No Fun

This summer had brought me many challenges. Finishing up my last year of school at the college, AND being a parent proved very difficult for me. I had to finish my work term, and also home school my kids from March till June. I have a whole new appreciation for my son’s teachers. I have 6-year-old twin boys in grade 1, going into grade 2, and it was… literal hell. Given that many of us were not able to work, myself included, I found trying to make time for everything almost impossible, working with a modified type of work term that has been a nightmare, and I saw my mental health deteriorate faster and faster. I had no motivation to do any work, or to do anything really. Getting out of bed some days felt like a challenge. Now that the summer is almost over I am feeling a lot of guilt and a time crunch to finish up my work term and all of my work, but my doubts are still present. I would give anything for the world to go back to normal, for myself and for my boys and not to have the constant fear for my family and of getting sick. Though this too shall pass, I wish it would pass sooner.

Submitted by

Sarah Furseth

Finding My Way

girl in grad cap with her horse

Submitted by

Jessalin Lawrence

Description

During the final semester of this school year, I was struggling with my mental health. I had started to get a hold of it and myself until COVID 19 hit. At first, I was doing alright, spending more time with my horses, family, and boyfriend. However, that all changed rather fast. I could feel myself becoming harder on myself, sad more often than not, and I never felt worthy or good enough. I was struggling to wake up most days, it felt impossible to get motivated to do any work for my work term and I knew I was spiraling. I felt so alone and like I was doomed to feel this way forever. I stopped painting, which is the thing I love to do the most. It was not until I hit rock bottom that I knew I had to do something to turn my life around. I started working out, training my horse for barrel racing, and basically just do things that took my mind off things and let me clear my head. I will be honest, my relationship with designing and art is still not the greatest. But I am pushing myself to still do my best work for my clients. Once I am done my work term I want to focus on creating some art that I want to create, How I want to create it, and to just find myself and fall in love with art again. This summer has not been easy and I still struggle most days. But I am doing the best I can to make it to the finish line of my work term. Just take one day at a time and you will make it.

Braden Kowalchuks’s COVID-19 Extravaganza

Was an ordinary Friday, myself and Tyrell (my closest friend) were set to go to crave for our usual beer Friday at the college bar “Crave”. Then all of a sudden, boom classes get cancelled for the day and then they never continued again at the college. They were shifted to online instruction, which for me made things much more difficult as I have a hard time focusing on work/school while at home. As this was a pandemic I along with everyone else was forced to adapt. Then the next shocker hit, before classes were technically finished the staff at residence wanted all the residents to leave ASAP. For me moving home was six hours away, and I needed assistance, so I requested that they give me more time, which they did. I then completed the semester at home (with garbage rural internet) and had a short grace period before the work term kicked off. Now for the work term, prior to COVID-19 I had a job in Edmonton with a business called “Art Attack” which did mainly 3D artwork. This position was cancelled due to the pandemic and I was now jobless, luckily our work term coordinators came up with solutions and told us not to stress looking for a new job during the pandemic. Unfortunately, there was a miscommunication about where I was living during the pandemic and I had no job for the first month of work term. This was mainly due to “Tweak Designs & Signs” in Saskatoon, not being approved for a work term grant. This was alleviated with being able to do some online work from home for Safety City, a company in Medicine Hat. After I started on this Project, Tweak finally was approved for their grant and I moved to Saskatoon to complete my work term.

All in all Covid-19 created a need for adaptability and flexibility, and required us all to be more patient with each other. Open mindedness was the over aching theme of the pandemic, and has taught us all that “things could always be worse” during stressful times at school.

Submitted by

Braden Kowalchuk

2020 graduation year

Covid-19 has affected me in ways I will never forget. The day the school decided to shut it’s doors and we were told to grab our belongings, I felt like I was in some kind of dream that I couldn’t wake up from. I was hopeful to still be able to go back to normal soon before our graduation reception and ceremony. However, when these days were also cancelled, I didn’t know how to feel and it was extremely hard for me to stay focused on finishing my last and final work term. I felt at the time that this virus took my graduation, which meant so much to me to be able to experience before I moved away. Even more so considering my unique uphill climb, that is the Visual Communications program. I left school in 2015 after one year and came back four years later, to finish what I started. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, getting back into everything I had learned prior to leaving. However given the circumstances of Covid-19 I was given the opportunity this work term to work as part of the mental health department at the college, and I am so grateful to have had the experience to work for them. Due to Covid-19, work term has also been such a challenge, with the workload and life in general. This being said, I feel so grateful for the support I have had around me the whole time. I am proud of myself for getting through the worst of the virus while still in school and consider my hard work a milestone I will never forget, even without a formal graduation.

Submitted by

Loissa Russell

BLM

Photo of BLM Peaceful Protest

Submitted by

Shinesta Bergeron

Description

During this time I have had so many firsts such as doing freelance work, wearing a mask daily, and attending a peaceful protest. The Black Lives Matter movement currently has brought up so many issues that continue to keep happening. I have been becoming more self-aware of my own privilege and how important it is to fight for justice and equality. During this time many things have come crumbling to the ground but we cannot just rebuild with the same mindset, because things need to change.

piece of my mind

Over the past four to five months I was able to see my mental health deteriorate. This being something that I hadn’t experienced before, I found myself having a loss of motivation, overwhelming emotions and not having the peace of mind to think straight. This was something new to myself, as I’ve always been able to brush problems to the side and keep on going.

I’m a very social person. I thrive on friendship and interacting with those who I love. With that being almost taken away from society, until social distancing became an option, I had found myself quite lost in the world around me. With Covid-19 introducing many more alters in society, I found myself not adapting very quickly. Additionally, I found myself having trouble getting to bed, losing motivation with work, and not being the happy person usually am.

I realized that things weren’t going to get better until I addressed these problems and worked on them. This wasn’t easy for myself to do, but I am very happy I did. Covid-19 has allowed me to learn how care for myself and my mental state. I take note of how I’m feeling, and how I can improve. I’ve started to exercise lots, which allows me to keep a clear mind. I’ve also been able to see what’s important within my friendships and relationships. I’ve learned more about the people who are important in my life, and have been able to see what is essential in my life.

Submitted by

Donovan Sim

A Different Kind of Work

Sculpture being done in a makeshift garage studio

Submitted by

Paige Cooper

Description

As an Art & Design student, our work terms that would regularly be at a place of business got shifted. Instead of having a studio to sculpt in, I was limited to my garage at home and used an old homemade ping pong table as my work area. A lot of these tough times have been about making the best of a bad situation.

Home Sweet Home

child painting on a window

Submitted by

Sierra Levac

Description

On March 15 I and many other students were at MHC for the last time as a student this year, and for many our last time there as a student for good. While the initial shock and shut down of the college, and many of my plans for after graduation, was overwhelming and emotional, it did not take long for me to find a shining light in the sadness. With a hectic class schedule, and vigorous amounts of homework my time at home was always short, meaning my son and I did not get the time together I would have liked. Since having to work and do school from home I have gotten the chance to spend all my time with him. While it comes with its own challenges, Covid presented me with a chance have to greatest experience of my life, to be home everyday with my son, to watch him grow and learn in these fundamental years before he heads off to school. When you’re all caught up in your day to day lives you don’t realize how much you are actually missing. I am glad we got a chance to slow dow, reevaluate our lives, and focus on what’s most important.

School, Work, and Fear

COVID-19 has definitely been a pretty big impact on my life. For starters, my grad art show was cancelled, which we as a class had all been working on for months at least. Then it was time for our work term, which is supposed to be a real job in the field of art and design where we get graded on our performance as well as on several smaller assignments throughout the spring semester. Obviously that wasn’t happening anymore. People with jobs lined up lost them, including myself, and others couldn’t find anything, so we had to do it all remotely and as volunteer work for clients that otherwise wouldn’t be able to hire us. Let me tell you, self-motivating every day for a job you don’t even get paid for, with no one looking over your back, it’s hard. I’ve had to learn a lot about how I work and think.

But on a more personal level than that, I’m scared. I read a lot of stories from people who have had or still do have COVID-19, their experiences with the sickness. It’s scary stuff. And my whole family is high-risk, especially my mother. I don’t know what I would do if anything happened to her. And the long-term effects of this illness are so terrible too. It’s completely and utterly life-changing, if not life-ending. I think anyone who isn’t at least a little scared doesn’t fully understand what this is. And it pisses me off when I hear things about people refusing to wear masks, or socializing outside their family circle. My family is taking so many precautions, if one of us gets it, it won’t be our fault. That is what makes me the most scared, having to rely on these other people who aren’t taking it seriously. Please take this seriously.

Submitted by

Rachel Condon