Pandemic life: "Am I still as extroverted as I used to be pre-pandemic?"

Sussex student Jenny Bathurst has been writing for us about pandemic life since lockdown began back in March last year.

Jenny Bathurst
Jenny Bathurst

The pandemic robbed her of the chance to sit A levels. But she ended up with three As and is now studying journalism at the University of Brighton (Eastbourne campus).

Here is her latest contribution.

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"According to a random internet forum, I am an ambivert. This isn’t in fact a phrase that I had ever come across until a few weeks ago when spontaneously deciding to find out if the internet heralded me an introvert or an extrovert. I don’t believe I am in the minority when coming to this conclusion and it doesn’t necessarily teach me much about myself to acknowledge this label, but when you have an essay to write and a room that needs tidying, what better way is there to procrastinate than completing unreliable internet quizzes? For anyone who may be in the dark, an ambivert is not completely introverted or completely extroverted, but sits somewhere in between. They enjoy bustling environments for a time until they feel the need to recharge, is outgoing and confident in only certain contexts, and processes scenarios both internally and out loud. I recognise all of these traits in myself, where I often wonder if I dominate a room when spending time with those I feel comfortable around, but conversely can come across as shy and awkward if placed in a situation out of my depth.

"It is only now as lockdown rules are slowly beginning to alleviate that I begin to wonder if I am no longer as extroverted as I used to be pre-pandemic, and I don’t believe that I am the only one who feels this way. If it is in our human nature to adapt to the environments we are faced with, then I have certainly succeeded. I don’t know whether to congratulate myself or be concerned at the fact that my Groundhog Day style routine of meeting friends for walks and studying has become my comfort zone, and the idea of straying away from this doesn’t fill me with as much joy as I imagined it would when stuck at home for the past twelve months. This is certainly not to say that the idea of meals out and shopping days don’t excite me, but to suddenly jump from a life confined almost entirely to my sleepy village to the hectic buzz of cities and shopping centres seems a shift that at first will seem rather overwhelming. Will the return to ‘normal’ feel as normal as it once did?

"I especially consider those who would think themselves to be, pandemic or not, extreme introverts. In a time where they have had every excuse to live in a bubble of their own and not be subject to the hubbub of the outside world, I imagine the transition out of this comfortable bubble will not be a simple one. I have touched before on the suggestion that we are not all in the same boat, but in differing situations in the same storm. For some, the end of this lockdown will be a dream come true, and it easy to assume that this will be the case for everybody. We will never be 100% aware of somebody’s thought patterns and attitudes, but one thing I will be conscious to remember this year is respecting that not everybody will be jumping at the chance to socialise at the first possible moment, no matter if I see them as an extrovert, an introvert or somewhere in between."