My new lockdown routine has given me a new-found direction. 

The announcement of the nationwide lockdown on Monday, 23 March 2020, left me angry and in dizzying disbelief that this was my new reality. 

I was discouraged by the fact that I had to spend many weeks at home. Each of my family members, like me, have very big personalities, but we all have taken on different responsibilities to bring order and structure to our lockdown lives. 

This structure is really important to me in my daily routine but it has been difficult to achieve.

At the start of this year, as a new student journalist, I slowly began a daily routine. This was something I turned to ensure I found a healthy balance between work and other things I enjoy, such as exercise. This entailed getting up early in the morning to exercise and prepare for my day in the Wits Vuvuzela newsroom by 8:30 am.

Although the day-to-day life of a student journalist was not set in stone before the lockdown began, at least my day had some order by guaranteeing that I was in the newsroom chasing a story. This routine created a sense of familiarity which allowed me to have control over my life. The habits that I built within the first term of my Honours in Journalism degree were lost when the closure of Wits was announced on March 16.  

Journalism Honours is a strenuous degree and so naturally, I didn’t mind some time to relax.  After two weeks without the structure of university work, I started to realise that being in lockdown had not only triggered a huge loss of structure, but I had also lost all social contact with my peers and mentors.

I miss the challenges my degree created and has made me question if attaining this degree is realistically possible now amidst the pandemic.

According to Researchers from the University of Adelaide, Tongji University and University of Sydney, institutions studying the mental and physical effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, “Work can provide people with a sense of purpose and routine, which is particularly important during this global pandemic.”

For this structure and focus, I have turned to my greatest tool, writing, to tell the stories of myself and of others. After reading the novel, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anna Frank published 25 June, 1947, I am even more convinced that writing is the way to get through this lockdown. 

Anne Frank was a young girl who kept a diary while her family were in hiding, in a secret annex, from the Nazis during World War II. Frank spent 761 days in hiding, in a confined space, with seven other people. 

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn,” wrote Frank of her fears and isolation. 

Frank’s words have emboldened my resolution to use writing as a way to maintain order in my daily routine. As a student journalist, I find a sense of purpose in my writing. It allows me to depict and tell the stories of the lockdown and of South Africa.  

My degree has given me direction during this period of confusion. Like Frank, my ability to write has given me a sense of determination to deal with these new challenges. I am grateful to be reminded that my writing can provide me with the routine I need to ensure I move in the right direction.

FEATURED IMAGE: Anna Moross is a student journalist at Wits Vuvuzela, Photo: File.