How can we survive in our work and studies this spring?

Spring 2022 will be remembered as terrible. Just when we thought we were going to get out of the two-year restrictions of Covid-19, there was an unimaginable tragedy around the corner; a war in Ukraine.

The sad news and speculation about the future are arousing concerning thoughts and feelings. Many of us are wondering how we can cope with work and studies this spring. Conversations with friends and loved ones can help us calm down, and discussion sessions are organized weekly in TAMK.

There are also traditional practices in Finland that have allowed previous generations to cope with harsh conditions. They are often described as “high work ethic” and “guts/sisu”. The central content of the tradition is that hard and tough work makes a living and, at the same time, builds a future for you, your family, and society.

One of the most famous stories is about Paavo farming his fields with his family in Saarijärvi. According to Runeberg’s poem, during the first spring, the flood takes half the crops. The summer hailstorm destroys the other half into the ground, and in the autumn, the frost ruins the harvest. The family survives the winter by baking bread using flour and the peel of pine. During the second spring, Paavo digs larger ditches and sells a sheep for seed grain. Thanks to the ditches, the spring flood does not harm crops. However, the summer hail brings down the harvest, and the autumn frost takes the rest again. They’re adding pine to the bread that winter. In the third spring, the gutsy Paavo spreads more manure on the field and sells the cattle to get seed grain. This time, bad weather does not damage the crop, the family is saved, and can share the bread with their neighbors.

What can the story of Paavo in Saarijärvi teach us at this time? It tells that focusing on everyday work is one of the coping mechanisms to live our lives on a daily basis. At the same time, we are creating capabilities for the future.

Although there will be difficulties ahead for us, by focusing on concrete actions of teaching and learning, we are building a better future. In fact, studying and graduating are especially important right now. Whatever the future, Finland, Europe, and all the countries of the world need competent experts and leaders to build the world in peace.

However, the Lutheran hard-working ethic includes moderation in everything, including work and worrying. By focusing on teaching and learning activities, we also free ourselves from constant reflection and worrying on the situation. Let’s do the necessary amount of meaningful teaching and learning on a daily basis, and try to relax in our free time together with others.

The annual cycle includes Easter, May Day, and graduation days also in 2022. Let’s work ahead towards those in the best possible way also this spring!

Text: Niina Jallinoja, Director of Business and Media
Photograph: Laura Vanzo – Visit Tampere Ltd