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Friday 24 April 2020

Being a university student comes along with a journey filled with all kind of emotions, from joy to stress. I am sure no one has ever thought about going through a world pandemic during the most important time of our lives.

About a month ago, I was living my life normally, working and studying for my degree BA (Hons) Criminal Investigation With Forensic Psychology, and in just one hour I saw myself, (as many others), buying a last minute flight back home because the Government was about to close the borders, and the company I work for decided to close too. All students are currently living times of uncertainty and for that reason it is important to stay connected with the University team, as well as students. In short words, this is exactly what I am trying to do. Sharing my experience with everyone because, who knows, it may give comfort to someone knowing we are going through same experiences, or even give ideas about what to do while we are in quarantine.

Moving back home

Moving back home to Portugal was definitely a last-minute decision although exciting because I got to see my family. On the other hand, I was not excited at all. To explain; for me, being independent is great and going back home means I am under my parents ‘wings’. A nice fact about being at university, and I believe majority of us thinks this way, is that if we are living alone, we feel free and independent. In addition, I wished to be back home for different reasons other than a virus. Personally, I had a hard time adapting to this new life after being in England for three years living alone, working, and building my future.

Obviously, being back home does not mean university is on stand-by. I found it a little hard to adapt my study routine as I loved going to the library where I have access to many information sources which I can’t do in the same way at home. However, all my lecturers have been helpful, and everything has been going smoothly through email and I am able to access online learning resources. Because I bought a last-minute flight, I was panicking about assessments and how I would be able to finish them. Luckily, the University has extended all deadlines and I have been able to keep up with my study.

Assessments and hobbies

For me, studying for assessments is currently the most challenging thing about not being able to attend classes. Although we have the essentials online, I find lectures important because there is always some curiosity or some points that help me with my assessments. With my course mates, I have been keeping in touch, which is helping me manage anxiety and all the concerns I have regarding deadlines and finding information. It is important to acknowledge that everyone has the same doubts about what will happen in the future and when we can live our life the way we used to. Like I mentioned before, keeping in touch with our classmates is so important because it helps a lot to avoid feeling lost. This is for sure the best advice I can give to everyone. Also, find yourself things to do while you are at home - it is very important to keep your mental health in place. My suggestion is to keep up with movies and soap operas or try new things you wouldn’t have time to do if you were working or attending lectures.  My suggestion this week is to watch Miracle in Cell No 7. It is a great movie about the criminal justice system and how innocent people can be wrongly convicted.

I hope sharing my experience is helpful and can remind you that although we have to stay at home, university is still very important.

Mariana

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