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Life in Lockdown - Sandy’s story


What Life in Lockdown is Like in a South Asian Household – Part One

 

On the 19th March 2020, I made the abrupt decision to make an earlier trip of coming back home for the Easter break. Little did I know the anticipated few weeks would turn into months…

My parents did not know I was coming home and with the outburst of COVID-19 no-one really understood the severity this outbreak was truly going to cause.  After a few surprises and screams it was nice to be back at home. I had not been back at home since Christmas due to living far away from York, which I did not mind as much, particularly as it was my final year so wanted to stay focus. The following Monday (23rd March) news broke out the government had imposed restrictions and a lockdown. When this was announced it felt surreal, like I was in a movie. This soon hit reality as in a South-Asian household you usually find when announcements like these are made, generally fathers of the household go on a political tangent. Things that can be said are ‘this should have been done earlier’ ‘in my days this would not have never happened’ and so on and forth.

Generally, the reactions of a lockdown was a panic in our household initially. Being told we cannot go outside, and we would be stuck inside as a full house together was a shock.  Having a fairly large family is not uncommon in Asian households so having all my siblings come back and live under one roof for an unknown long length of time was going to be a roller coaster ride. This meant in our household, everyone would have their personal space reduced and the TV will constantly be on South Asian TV shows...great! However, the upsides to lockdown were at least family entertainment will be 24/7 and there is always someone to talk to. My main concerns were thinking about how this was going to impact my studies. Being a final year student who still had four exams and a dissertation to complete, I felt coming back home was not exactly the best of ideas and was just unfortunate it happened.

Gradually as days go by, it became an afternoon ritual every day around 5:00 pm we would wait to see what the government had to say regarding the Coronavirus and the hope that lockdown would be lifted. This of course was not going to happen so soon as people would have liked as death rates were increasing, which was expected, but even if lockdown were lifted, I doubt I would be able to travel back to York which upset me.

Many people in lockdown were enjoying themselves and making the most out of it which left me envious as I would be doing the same if I did not have exams. At the start of lockdown, I really struggled in creating a strong, work ethic. Part of this battle was because I had no personal space to conduct my work except my bedroom floor which I shared with my younger sibling or some desk space if my older siblings were not using it for work. I tried to make myself understand, even with the current situation I still do have exams, and this is my final year so best to complete it on a high! I needed to be focused and strong willed which was being tested in lockdown. Who knows how I will end up?

That concludes the end of part one!

Thank you for taking the time to read about my experience in lockdown


 

What Life in Lockdown is Like in a South Asian Household – Part Two

When sleeping the night before my first exam, I had a large amount of butterflies fluttering in my stomach. I was worried because I had to complete a 24 hour exam in an environment where I have little or no personal space and needed to be focused. I spoke to my family and we arranged an areas where I could complete my studies however, I was still anxious.

In preparation for my exams I knew I was a visual learner. To help me learn, I made factsheets and included diagrams and highlighted key information. Even though my exams were an open book, a lot of individuals think you do not need to revise as hard. I completely disagree and believe you need in fact work harder! This is because you can easily be blinded, even with the access of having your resources with you, you would want to ensure you are using your time wisely and thus need to be more organised in knowing where the information is. So, I organised my folder with dividers and a  contents page so I could easily navigate my way through my folder and not spend unnecessary time trying to locate the information I need during my exams.

Being an individual who loves organisation and stationary I made creating my revision folder a fun project. It allowed me to consolidate my learning but also provide me with a project I could focus on whilst in lockdown. I really loved the idea of spending time on one lecture by thoroughly re-watching them to allow me to fill in any missing notes I may have, and then crossing it off when it has been completed.  This personally took a long time to do but I am glad I stuck with it as it  allowed me to achieve my best potential.

During revision, there was a brief period of the weather being super nice! This was a curse in disguise as when scrolling though social media, I could see many individuals enjoying the weather which ultimately diverted my attention.  After feeling guilty of not spending my time revising but sitting in the sun to top up my tan, I started to create mini goals and in the end reward myself. I would recommend this to anyone who struggles staying focused, to set deadlines and create lists to maintain proactiveness. This is a great way to stay on top of your work and you have a reward waiting for you, whether it is the sunshine or eating a non-healthy snack!

After, I completed my first exam I felt more relived as I knew the structure and I only had three left! The only problems I faced during my exams was either being shouted out (which is normal in a BAME household- well mine is anyways!)  to come down and eat or when my siblings were bored and wanted to chat, they would often waltz in and disturb me where I would have to reiterate, I am busy. Also, my dad would tend to sit on the sofa in our study and play his WhatsApp videos really loud, completely oblivious to the fact I was trying to work, where I would have to remind him where his only response would be to ‘slightly’ lower the volume. The only downside I felt during the exam period was missing out on quality time with my family. I told myself my exams were priority and once this was all over, I would be able to spend all the time in the world (literally due to lockdown!) to socialise. In times like this distractions can come very easily, so I would recommend leaving your phone in another room where you are not working or entrust it with one of your family members to prevent you from scrolling endlessly on social media!

That concludes the end of part two!

Thank you for taking the time to read about my experience in lockdown


 

What Life in Lockdown is Like in a South Asian Household – Part Three

My final exam was submitted on the 29th May at 12:00 pm concluding my university journey at York. A couple of tears fell down my cheeks as I reflected on the last four years at York, which has been nothing but a rollercoaster ride. Coming to York in 2016 and finding out the course I was initially studying was not for me, I took the brave decision to change courses which was a challenge to explain to my BAME parents. Yet here I am 4 years later I have completed my degree! It felt weird submitting my final piece of work at home and not being able to celebrate with my course-mates, but it felt nice to close my eyes and take in the moment. This was short lived as the government was to announce whether lockdown would be lifted. Unfortunately, the government announced lockdown was to be extending for another 4 weeks, leaving that taste of freedom further behind. 

After finishing my exams and still in lockdown my mother started giving me endless cleaning jobs to do whilst she went to work as she is classified as a key worker. The list contained chores such as wiping all the windows in the house regularly, the door and door handles, hoovering and the removal of weeds from the garden! I did not mind it at first but then I felt extremely lethargic as the process was so tedious and I actually missed studying! As I was the only one not working from home I was duped into housework and telling my Indian parents I didn’t want to do this anymore would result in a series of lectures of ‘I would never disobey my parents’ or ‘what else would you be doing with your time’ so I avoided this completely.

Apart from all the cleaning luckily, I was still a student ambassador, so I got the chance to carry out odd jobs for the uni which filled up my remaining time not spent cleaning which had flown by. We were now 97 days in lockdown and the government was reviewing the measures again. Unfortunately for me, Leicester had a COVID outbreak, so I was stuck in lockdown for at least another two weeks! Not knowing how long I would be in lockdown for, it started to become the new norm. I started to realise I wanted to make better use of my time and I was grateful at the start of lockdown my exams had kept me occupied, but now with so much free time what do I do!?

I knew that I still wanted to study my masters in September permitted I am able to, so I started to  look at virtual internships and free courses I could do online until then. I successfully managed to complete a Bright Network Consulting Internship where I networked with a range of different employers and received feedback on my work sample I had to complete. This was a great way for me to develop my skills during lockdown, but also provided me with a challenge of taking on an industry I wasn’t considering a career in. Apart from doing virtual internships, I also started a Future Learn course on ‘Sustainable Futures’ associated with The University of Bristol. This was perfect for me as I had just finished my BSc in Environmental Science and have a passion for sustainability, so this course allowed me to understand the various pathways and views sustainability has in the future.

It has now been 115 days and counting since I have been in lockdown and no one knows when things will go back to normal or when restrictions in Leicester will be lifted. The one thing I do which I cannot emphasise enough to my readers, is you will never get this time back so make the most of it! It sounds cliché I know but do take on those courses you have always wanted to study or read those books you never have had time for! My final words are whatever it is you could never do, use your time now to create a positive impact wherever you maybe!

As always thank you for taking the time to read about my experience in lockdown and I hope you enjoyed it!