Life as a student during COVID-19
Student life with covid-19
I am a 3rd-year university student in Birmingham. Coming back in September we all knew that it would be different, but no one knew how different it would be. I think that has been a lot harder than I expected it would be.
I feel for the 1st year students who have moved away from home to attend university only to feel they have become trapped in their rooms. I can only imagine how they must feel. I am living in an en-suite room with a shared kitchen and one of the people I live with is a 1st year. They have talked about how they have difficult days; that they are normally a very social person and like to go out so not going out is difficult and makes them feel isolated. They have talked about going home and studying from there because at least they would be with their family. I can totally see why they would do that. I am less social, but I still like to go to university and see my friends in class. I would say that not being able to see my friends in university is the hardest challenge of all of this. Not going into university, I feel I am missing out on things, it does bring up the question why I am paying if I am stuck in accommodation, I pay for using a laptop I also paid for.
My university is doing 50/50 teaching so half in person and half online, but I have not gone in as I don’t feel comfortable to do so yet, I have also spoken to others on my course who have been in and said that they aren’t able to get much work done when they go in as the teacher is talking to the students online so, they can’t talk to each other because people online wouldn’t be able to hear. The university has had a good amount of time to make sure they were prepared for us to come back, but I feel that they are unsure about what they are doing.
Looking after my Mental Health
A big priority for me is my mental health, as I have OCD you can imagine a global pandemic makes life a little more difficult (as it has for everyone). Part of making sure you are mentally fit is talking to someone you trust; I always talk to Mum about the thoughts I’ve been having just to remind myself that they are probably just my OCD going into overdrive. I think that having someone you can trust to speak to is the most important thing, whether it is a family member or a friend, just make sure you reach out if you need help.
I like to make sure that I have a routine to stay productive. I would say try and make a to-do list every day and cross each thing off, I recommend doing this as it can help you feel like you're moving forwards. Make sure that the goals are achievable. I might have lots of different bits of work I need to do instead of writing complete university work or finish writing that paper. I’m writing things like “Do 2 hours of concentrated study.” This means I just need to get some work done, not everything needs to be done in one go. It’s key to write the to-do list down as if you just think you might get overwhelmed trying to remember it all, making you more stressed. I also installed a focus app on my phone, so I don’t use it while I’m studying. (It’s called “Forest” and you grow trees while you are not on your phone.)
Another thing I do to make sure I am looking after my mental health is making sure I don’t have too much screen time, so I read, colour and exercise. Also, like to cook and bake, this is something that makes me relaxed. I try to have meals away from my screen as well so that I’m not stuck looking at my laptop all day. I also have a part-time job, this is something that I am grateful for as it allows me to get out of my room for a good amount of time and see other people. I always liked my job but now I love it. I am aware that I am lucky and not everyone has a job. I hope that if you do try some of these things that it helps you.
Stay safe and look after yourself and hopefully soon things can get back to normal. I also want to put some links to organisations and books that I found/think are useful.
Book: Feeling Good