It was shocking when COVID-19 emerged in 2020, changing significantly our lives. Hence, suddenly, the government announced the spread of a contagious virus, transmitting from human interaction. This was an extremely stressful time. Firstly, we were advised to wash regularly our hands with soap for at least 20 seconds which was for the first a few weeks. Then, social distancing was introduced and this led to consideration by the university to temporarily study online. The government announced national lockdown in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. Thus, the in-person teaching disappeared when the university announced that we had to study from home. This was a challenging time because my interaction with colleagues was limited to online meetings. Even the library closed temporarily. Then students were asked to book a slot when they visited the library and they were allowed to stay there only for a few hours per day. Hence, students had to study mainly at home, which led to greater isolation from the world.
Then the measures towards the protection from the virus become even stricter, we had to use masks when we entered a shop or a building, which created additional inconvenience. Sometimes it was hard to breathe with a face covering, while walking. Moreover, it was hard to understand what others were saying. In addition, there were restrictions on the number of specific items which customers were allowed to buy from the store. There were a lot of empty shelves because people were buying more than they needed to, worrying that most products would not be available tomorrow. The queues in front of the store were very long, extending the waiting time. Furthermore, the non-essential shops were closed which meant that only essential shops such as supermarkets and pharmacies were allowed to stay open.
Online shopping became normal, however, because of the increased demand, most businesses needed more time to adapt to the new situation. Hence, sometimes the deliveries of different products took more time than usual. Moreover, it became harder to get a medical appointment due to the increased time for waiting and the transition from in-person to online consultations. The daily briefings from the government were meant to inform citizens in relation to COVID-19 and the changing rules. The idea was to help the public understand how to live under these new rules, protecting their own lives and those of their families. The briefings were a source of reassurance that the situation was under control, providing people with confidence that tomorrow will be better. Thus, that was the main focus of the media.
On the other hand, international travel was restricted and it was not easy for citizens and especially for students to go home to see their families. The student accommodation was the home of a considerable number of students during that time. Nevertheless, the rules for social distancing were valid for the communal areas in the accommodation as well. Furthermore, it was challenging to enter the U.K. for those who have been abroad just before the introduction of the measures. The reduction of the number of flights was an additional obstacle. This was a stressful period for students and academic staff. Therefore, it is important to learn to adapt to difficult situations, which would be useful later in life.
Until next time,