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Studying Under Lockdown: My Perspective

Studying Under Lockdown: My Perspective main image

By Conor Dennehy

It all began in March 2020. University was going smoothly, and I was enjoying my classes and studying on campus. I felt as though I had found the perfect combination between my studies, part-time work and socializing with family and friends after class.

Everybody was aware and talking about the situation occurring across the globe with regards to the coronavirus pandemic, but little did any of us know what would come in the following months.

I had recently returned from a trip to Copenhagen and my final face-to-face class was on the Thursday afternoon of that week, with my lecturer preparing us for the possible transition to online classes. 

I was super busy at this point as I was in my final year of university with the stress and pressure of a dissertation deadline looming. When lockdown was announced, I remember thinking to myself ‘’Oh, this will only last a few weeks, I’ll be back to class soon.’’

I took the chance to prepare myself for the next few weeks. When I would be studying from home and taking online classes, I wanted to make sure that I kept a routine and remained in social contact with friends and family. 

The first few weeks were a mix of highs and lows. I didn’t feel isolated in any way. I had my online classes, I kept in touch with friends via Zoom, phone and Messenger and I managed to get a lot of work completed. 

The low points came when I started to notice that I was losing my routine. Each night I would go to bed later and stay in bed for longer in the morning. I was noticing that I was becoming a little less productive, but as I got so much work completed in my first two weeks, I was not too concerned by a little less productivity. 

The next few weeks were probably the most challenging though. My routine was all over the place, I was waking up late and sleeping well over nine hours a night.

I also began to miss social interactions. I guess the first few weeks went smoothly because it felt like a little break, but now as we entered the second month of lockdown I was struggling with the lack of social interaction.

I was fortunate enough that the Easter holidays were taking place during these weeks, so I felt a little less guilty that I wasn’t as productive as I wanted to be. 

After a bumpy few weeks, I knew I had to get organized and structured again. Routine has always been important for me and I could not let lockdown mess this up.

I made a schedule on Google Calendar and decided I was going to treat each study day as though I was following my old routine.

It was also important that I started to go for more walks around the park as I was beginning to feel a little stuffy in my house all day. I also was trying to teach myself to separate my studies from my downtime. It can be difficult to switch off when you are working from home all of the time.

Over the course of these three weeks, I completed my dissertation and sat two online exams. I was feeling much more upbeat and optimistic and realized how much admiration I had for other students completing their studies during this time.

I think what helped me to be productive was the combination of creating a routine, taking breaks outside of the house and making sure to switch off when I had finished my day of studying. 

Three months into lockdown and my dissertation was submitted, exams were completed, and restrictions were beginning to slowly ease. I was so happy to have finished my degree but also a little sad about the way in which I finished.

My graduation ceremony was postponed until the winter (although there will be a virtual one) and I didn’t get to say goodbye to my friends. It was a strange way to finish four years of university but nonetheless I was happy to finish. 

I had an internship lined up for the summer and I was worried that it would be cancelled like so many others. Luckily, I found out that it was going ahead albeit online and with a reduced number of hours.

On reflection, the last few weeks had been full of ups and downs but overall it has enabled me to work and adapt to a new situation, which is something I should be proud of, along with every other affected student.

The #WeAreTogether campaign brings students together from universities across the UK to share their experience of what it’s like to study in the UK during Covid-19. It is a difficult time for international students right now, but universities are here to support them. Follow us on Instagram for tips, advice, and information for current and future international students.

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