P.S – I am currently living in Wessex Lane Halls at Southampton. The events described here are based on my personal experiences coping with the lockdown from Day 1.
Sometimes, all we need is ambiguities to bring us on an adventurous ride. Yet not every experience is providential. We felt how calamitous circumstances that hit unknowingly will do us harm instead. While tomorrow might still seem bleak, our lives had definitely changed forever.
March 23 was a date that most of us in the UK will never forget. The day we start locking ourselves out from our friends, the day we embark on a strange journey in isolation, and the day we see ourselves staying indoors for an unforeseeable future. Separation is a new norm now. And it will remain with us for some time.
Lockdown has definitely changed the way we perceive freedom. We might be tempted to sunbathe at the beach, have BBQ parties, or even merely chilling at the park – but we don’t deserve that privilege now. It’s all about protecting the NHS, saving lives and praying that we return to ordinary days. Yet some people might take it onto their own hands.
Lockdown has taught me numerous things. First, adaptability is testing us to its limits. I recalled being surprisingly excited on the first day of lectures and seeing those stacks of files that were waiting to be filled again. At one point, no one was conscious that a time bomb was ticking. When social distancing started to find its way into our dictionaries, with the university closing its doors – this nervewracking experience was unprecedented. Imagine receiving an email from the university informing us that the university is closing. It is not an announcement that we all hope to be accepting.
Most final-year students will be anxious about their degree classifications, final year projects, or even just relishing their last year of academic life. In fact, the entire university community will be curious about what happens next, which still looks undecided. Some might scramble to stockpile or seek alternatives to the gym. Some might even book last-minute flights to head home. Personally, I know many who had fled the country in pursuit of confining within their own homes. But all this goes down to one thing – adaptability – an ability that we should embrace in this trying times. Being adaptable is not solely about staying comfortable with unexpected change, but accepting uncertainties and navigating them is critical too. For me, the main differences were not attending live lectures, and every interaction had to be done from the “blue screen”. It felt daunting at one point, but I learnt to accept that this change was inevitable. Not only does it encourages us to be ready for the next phase of reality, but it reminds us that some things are indeed beyond our control.
The UK has hit a grim milestone. With growing numbers of fatalities in the country, it tells us one thing; self-love is more valuable than before. Whether it involves having our freedom deprived or unable to go on Easter vacations (like me) – life is so much more than just that. I am grateful to be fit and well despite locking myself in the room and seeing the spring flowers blooming. At times, temptation kicks in and hopes to be rolling on patches of grass seemed distant. It is okay to be frightened, albeit nothing matters more than staying healthy now. In times like this, loving and respecting ourselves is imperative before we can expect love and respect from others. It is a gift that is untakable by anyone. Sounds familiar, right? So treat yourself to a cup coffee, start appreciating the ever-changing weather or flip through your photo album – you won’t realise how serene this walk of life is. Keeping yourself occupied with activities that you find enriching yet meaningful until normality comes will undoubtedly bring you self-love.
As technology paves its way into our lives, staying online might seem like a significant necessity for all of us. According to a report in Bloomberg, applications like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Hangouts or even emails had seen soaring traffic than the same time last year. In fact, online lectures and tutorials are all operated on these platforms. It feels somewhat anomalous because I was used to waking up early and attending classes at the university. However, technology has its perks too. The university is offering various (free!) online work-out sessions from the Sports and Well-being team, which makes most of our lives easier when gyms remain shut. Many companies outside are also offering free webinars to guide undergraduates on improving their employability skills during this pandemic. In considering what has taken place, technology will soon be our dearest friend in workplaces, universities and schools even when the lockdown is lifted. Remote learning and working will eventually become a social norm for all of us.
Sometimes, all we need is a leap of faith amid a crisis. We might be screaming for freedom now, but good days are ahead of us. Life goes on, no matter what. Hope is there, and we will soon be reunited with the freedom that we been longing for. In the meantime, courage and determination are what should spur us to strive for success. Lockdown might be ruthless, but all this will be meritorious when we emerge from the fog. Our generation will be glorious, after all.