“On the 23rd of March, students’ lives flipped upside down and their normal academic routine was no longer. When the novelty of lockdown had worn off, it was obvious we would all begin to miss our friends, being able to hug family members and go out to our favourite restaurants. But every one of us has been given the massive responsibility of protecting the lives of the most vulnerable, by staying at home and giving up seeing the people most important to us.
Taking up this responsibility has brought the country closer than ever and we are all doing our bit to protect one another. As students, mid-way through the academic year, we had to acclimatise to a new way of learning, going against any form of education we had ever known. Whether this is through virtual lessons, finally turning our email notifications on or recording presentations whilst still in pyjamas. It was different for all of us, with some of us loving the freedom of waking up later in the morning and some of us struggling with a sudden lack of routine.
As a student myself, I found it difficult leaving college, for what could be, the last time. Not knowing it was my last day, until the day before all education facilities shut, didn’t give me enough time to share my thanks to all staff who had given me so much.
Studying at home wasn’t a massive struggle, as my course is not exam based, so I was used to writing up most of my assignments at home. But learning units and trying to grasp ideas from a PowerPoint is difficult. I am lucky enough to have good friends who I can video call and work through assignments together with. This helped us share ideas and help each other out when any of us needed. All forms of video calls have been so important during this scary time and even though it may just be light projected from a screen, these people are right in front of you and seem to be almost close enough to touch. Via technology, we have invented new ways of sharing everyday things with the people we love. Whether that be playing chess or running a cooking class with the family. We as a nation have never been so close, yet so far apart.
I committed to the idea of doing something different during lockdown and gardening seemed like a good starting point. I may not be green-fingered yet, but painting fence panels seemed a good place to start, right?
Spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at home have made people realise what you can do with a little bit of free time. More of us are learning the ways of the ‘home workout’, learning to play a musical instrument (or two), reading more or building that shed we brought 5 years ago. I’m sure a lot of us will come out of lockdown as DIY enthusiasts or box-set superfans, forgetting how to do our day job.
Every Thursday, I am one of the millions of people coming outside at 8pm to clap in appreciation for our keyworkers. I’m sure the nation would agree when I say that we are incredibly proud of the hard work all of our keyworkers put in every day to keep our country running, in a time when turning the other cheek is the easiest option. Having food stacked on shelves in supermarkets, our bin men taking away our rubbish every week and having confidence in our NHS workers, that they are doing all they can to help us fight Coronavirus. We couldn’t be more thankful.
As students, having a plan in place for grades, that could make or break the career aspirations for some people, is something we should be extremely grateful for. Having an equal chance to succeed and achieve our academic goals, takes away a lot of the worry during this strange time. We can rest assured that our grading system is fair and will consider the numerous circumstances at this time.
Now, is the perfect time to spend quality time with those in your household, whether that be parents, siblings or a housemate. Nothing can beat a board game or quiz night. Spend time focussing on yourself, become mindful and stay present. Every single one of us has a role in beating Coronavirus and lives, really are, in our hands.”