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Life in Lockdown- Student Story 17

Lockdown Story – Easter holidays

The first time the pandemic really hit me was on the 16 th March, on the train home for
Easter when I got the email that summer term would be online, and that’s when I realised
how serious this was. I won’t lie I was devastated, at the prospect of having summer term
ripped away from me. In my head I thought that the following term would have the best;
sunny weather, still first year so less pressure, and the closest I’d been to my friends yet. I
was upset that I hadn’t got a proper goodbye to my friends and I didn’t know when I was
next going to see them. However, at this point, before lockdown was announced, I thought
that perhaps I would be able to go back and live there in the summer term even if teaching
was online. Hugging my mum in the station car park, I wasn’t really sure what was going to
happen, to me or the country!
Despite this overhanging apprehension over what was going to happen in term 3 because it
was the Easter holidays, for a while it didn’t feel particularly different, I still had two essays
to write and I spent time with my family. I also got to see a few friends who weren’t at
university yet before lockdown was announced, which I am incredibly grateful for looking
back. However, one thing that was missing was my friends at York, we had planned to all
meet in London and Manchester over the holidays because we live so far apart which now
couldn’t happen. But this sense of normality didn’t last as lockdown was announced on 23 rd
March which changed things considerably, I couldn’t see any friends or extended family,
was only allowed out once a day, which now sounds crazy to say but after a while it became
the new normal.
As a natural introvert lockdown didn’t seem too bad at first, I liked having time to myself to
do creative projects, such as sewing (which I hadn’t done for ages) and painting (a new
found hobby) and spending time with my family, as they were all at home, was really nice.
And obviously it gave me plenty of time to do my essays, but not necessarily the motivation!
I was in the mind-set that I needed to do something productive during lockdown but I began
to reconcile myself to the fact it was ok to just do nothing sometimes. However, as time
went on I started to miss my home friends, finding it frustrating that even though they were
so close I couldn’t actually see them. And as term 3 crept closer and closer I began to realise
that there was now no way I would be able to go back up to York next term. Could I really do
this for potentially the rest of summer? Life is monotonous, life is dull but life is also
precious and that is why this has to happen. But I try not to think about what will be
happening in a few months’ time and take each day at a time to try and stay positive. It has
also struck me in this at just how valuable human life really is, worth giving up our freedom,
risking our economy.

Lockdown Story 2

Sat waiting to join a zoom… how’s my camera positioned? Does my room look a mess? Are
any of my family going to come in? All very new concerns going into a seminar! Who would
have thought this was how I was going to do the rest of my first year seminars. One of the
biggest challenges I faced was Wi-Fi and being able to get into my seminar, one of them I

missed because my internet was too slow which was incredibly frustrating. However I feel
incredibly grateful that I was able to get into any at all and also grateful that missing one
didn’t have a huge impact since our exams were cancelled. It did also come with some
benefits, for example it only taking 5 mins to switch on my laptop rather than 20 mins to
walk to Spring Lane. And it certainly made presentations a lot easier when you are only
talking to a screen!
However, one of the most difficult things was an extreme lack of motivation, due the lack of
compulsory exams, and because I am doing history I would almost certainly never need any
of this knowledge again. Particularly in regard to lectures where there was no set time (you
could just watch them pre-recorded at any time) and no actual attendance, it was difficult to
find the motivation to actually watch them and take notes. It was hard doing uni without all
the stuff that comes with that; living with my friends, meeting people, societies, even going
to the library! Doing face times with friends and flatmates was good, but not the same. I had
also forgotten how much I valued my independence at uni, without my parents worrying
and hassling me about work
But then the teaching stopped and the stream of work ran dry and suddenly I had nothing to
do. A different feeling altogether, but somehow worse! In order to fill my time and help
prepare me for 2 nd year I decided to try and do one of the optional exams in timed
conditions to see how it went. I was worried (and still am!) that my first real experience of a
university exam would be in 2 nd year where it counted towards my degree, so at least this
could give me some idea of what it would be like and how I might do. So I set about doing
the exam in the time allowed, figuring this would be the most accurate model of what it
would be like. But this was trickier than I had imagined, I tried to set myself just 3 hours to
do it in but due to the distractions of home and the ability to be flexible I took several
breaks so although the time I was actually writing the essays in was 3 hours, in all it took a
lot longer, not exactly what the real thing would have been like. But I reminded myself that
doing was at all was an achievement considering the circumstances and would go a long
way to helping me next year.
So the end of term was not what I would have expected or wanted, no celebration after
exams or even leaving York in the way I would have expected. But nevertheless I am still
proud of myself and everyone for completing this term it will certainly be unlike anything
we’ll experience again.