Back in March, the term “global pandemic” started cropping up a lot, but what did that even mean? I had visions of an apocalypse, especially with everyone taking to the shops stocking up. Should I head home? Should I stay put? I really had no clue what I was supposed to do. I didn’t even consider how it might impact my university life to begin with.
Slowly, I started working things out though. I decided to stay at uni in the house I was renting. That way I didn’t have to deal with my mum going crazy if she forgot to sanitise a letter as it came through the front door. Obviously, I was careful and washed my hands plenty, but at least I didn’t have to be obsessive! I realised this wasn’t going to be the apocalypse and started to calm down and realise it just meant being a bit more careful, wearing a face mask and only going out if I really needed to.
Unfortunately, when we first went into lockdown, my field trip (boat week!) had to be cancelled halfway through. Luckily, the lecturer running it is a great guy and he gave us tons of support and resources online which meant we were able to still complete our assessment with relative ease. What about now? Now, I’m pretty chilled about it to be honest.
I’ve already had to do two isolation periods where I couldn’t leave my house because my immune system doesn’t do its job very well, and apparently, I like to run a fever a lot. Neither time was it the dreaded COVID, but still, I isolated just to be sure. But at this point, it all feels pretty normal. I’m just waiting for it to blow over (hopefully sooner rather than later!).
All of my lectures have been online to minimise contact. It was a shaky start with the lecturers trying to get used to Zoom and learning how to deal with the technical difficulties that come with online teaching. We have got there now and most lectures run smoothly, and in reality it’s not all that different from being in the lecture hall, except that maybe you can watch your lecture in your pyjamas and under a blanket on the sofa (see, there are definitely some positives!). We were supposed to be having socially distanced face-to-face practical sessions, but unfortunately tons of first year students caught COVID and our lecturer had to isolate.
Its not all doom and gloom though. This year, they are hoping that we might be able to resume some face-to-face learning through practical sessions and field work, although, for my course, lectures are still expected to be online. Plus, since September I have still been able to work and bring in some extra income, both doing online work in my student ambassador capacity, and on campus working night shifts at the library (and still sometimes getting to see course mates when they come in late to finish up their essays).
For now, I will just keep going how I have been. I’m trying to keep a schedule by actually going to the live online sessions instead of watching them back when I get a chance afterwards. I’m also trying not to take too many naps just because I’m at home, but I still have my blanket to hand in case I’ve had a stressful morning and just need some down-time in the afternoon.