Catharsis: The Art of Doing Whatever You Want (Even in a Global Crisis)

One student has found surprising benefits of learning from home during the pandemic.

By Julianne Jensen

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to school, I have mixed opinions. Waking up every day to go learn sounds lovely to me, but schools aren’t just that. What’s not stated as a requirement in the Syllabus is the overwhelming mountain of doom that schools like to implement onto their student body. Social norms, peer pressure, and constant competition combined with the industrial-revolution-era education system is not an atmosphere I enjoy being in. Yet, I don’t think many of the people in charge feel this way. However, the problem becomes apparent in and of itself, when the entire student body breathes a sigh of relief over an unprecedented and deadly pandemic!

Sure, you’d expect that most of these kids are just going to go home and play video games for five weeks straight, but even the ones who are forced to work a full time job in masks, and then go home to online schooling have found reprieve in this self-isolation style of living. I am forced to wonder why- do people just like to complain? Is it an ignorant mentality where they only appreciate what they had once it’s gone? Based on my own experience, I’d disagree. I think this pandemic has forced a new and unexplored way for society to function, and that has been interesting to be a part of, but I believe it’s deeper than that. Even with having the same, or less amount of free time, I’ve found these past weeks to be haven for many reasons. One is that I am the definition of an introvert, and so doing all of my work alone and in the comfort of my own space has allowed me to flourish. Furthermore, it’s not like I do seven hours of school work at Central, only to go home and do five hours more. This way, I am able to dedicate all of my work to one area, thus creating a sense of routine in my own, personalized way. This sense of freedom is really where I draw my point, however. Again, I can’t speak for everyone, but the ability to establish my own schedule after my workday has given me free range to my depot of creativity. One example of this is that after I get my work done for the evening, I can chip away at the first painting I’ve done in nearly two years that wasn’t for a class. In contrast, I could never do this during a school year, as the pace that was set for me didn’t fit my personal needs, and the stress I felt was so unmanageable that it washed out all of my creativity.

I’ve found that setting my own pace has allowed me to indulge in hobbies I haven’t dabbled in in quite a few years, such as reading fiction during my free time, stress free. As a result, my happiness has increased exponentially. This is not a new thing, either. According to an article by Kendra Cherry, reviewed by psychotherapist Amy Morin, “A catharsis is an emotional release. According to psychoanalytic theory, this emotional release is linked to a need to relieve unconscious conflicts. For example, experiencing stress over a work-related situation may cause feelings of frustration and tension. Rather than vent these feelings inappropriately, the individual may instead release these feelings in another way, such as through physical activity or another stress relieving activity.” Cherry expresses that as everyone experiences stress, an act of catharsis is essential to a healthy life. Often times, people don’t have energy or time to have as much catharsis as they would like, and that’s why I think “quarantining” has given us all a gift to do exactly that.

It goes without saying, however, that many are not as privileged, and may not have the means to feel a sense of freedom in these times, and I could see how they are missing school as an ability to get away. Furthermore, not everything is going to be to a personal liking, as compromise is needed to create balance. Many adults don’t get the choice of setting their pace, as their career demands its own. That alone isn’t always a problem. It has just been very interesting to feel a sense of stability that I haven’t felt since before Kindergarten. It is hopeful that people in leadership roles in our community can take this experience and implement such a sense of self-reliance and stability into people’s lives more, for the betterment of us all.

Works Cited

Cherry, Kendra. “How Catharsis Can Bring About Great Insight and Positive Change.” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 25 Jan. 2020, http://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-catharsis-2794968.

Reading” By Book Catalog on Flickr

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