It’s been almost 2 months of lockdown here in the UK and the restrictions are now slowly being lifted. Because I’m still at the university accommodation (Manor Park), I thought I’ll tell you guys a little bit about my experience here in Guildford. From planning Easter holidays to Europe to watching half of my friends leave, in a span of just two days, was definitely difficult. On top of that, the first two weeks of adapting to the new life (with social distancing and other restrictions) was a nightmare. Eventually, though, things got easier. The anxiousness and concern at the beginning among students were replaced by a much-needed sense of calm and acceptance. And the weather? From winter to spring to summer, everything around has suddenly sprung to life. Now that I look back, there are things that made my life easier during the lockdown, all of which I’m grateful for.
Living in the student accommodation, for instance, has been a big plus because despite concerns we knew there would always be support available Having Tesco at a walking distance meant convenient weekly grocery shopping trips and after the initial panic buying stage, most things were always in stock. In fact, the university was also delivering food for students who were self-isolating which was very reassuring in the initial times. On hindsight, I think I was able to deal with the lockdown better because I was lucky to have people around. Between baking sessions and board games, the 5 of us in my flat got closer over the last 2 months than we were before lockdown. We also celebrated my birthday together and this lockdown birthday would be one of my most memorable moments in the UK.
From the university’s side, many steps were taken to relieve the academic pressure off students. These included regular emails to update about the happenings, modified assessments and exams and updated marking criteria etc. The best part, however, was how quickly the uni managed to move the classes online. There were no missed classes in between! And, although I miss attending classes at the university, Zoom classes aren’t that bad either. (I mean come on, you could wake up 10 mins before class and still make it!). The weekly classes, the pending assignments, the upcoming exams have all helped me maintain a sense of normalcy in an otherwise chaotic world. Completing a group assignment, coordinating across 4 different continents, for me, has been a highlight of this period.
Also, despite the lockdown, still having the freedom to step out and exercise (unlike rules back home in India) was a saviour. And having the surrey sports park grounds (which are huge!) literally outside my flat has kept me sane during this lockdown. Utilizing this time productively, I’ve even managed to learn to do push-ups, hula hooping and what not! In the meanwhile, a lot of my friends have been baking and creating art to help them cope with things. All that being said, I still miss my family and friends back home. Virtual talks have become the new normal now. I also miss all the travelling plans we made for summer. When all of this is over, on the other side of things, I hope everybody learns to enjoy the little things in life! Till then here is a picture from an eternity ago (December) when I celebrated New Year in London, when travelling was still a reality!