Friday 24 April 2020
For many students, the pressure of the final year at university alone is enough; the workload intensifies, socialising becomes less frequent and thoughts turn more to the future after graduation. Earlier this year the Covid-19 virus emerged in the UK and unbeknown to many students across the country this virus would impact them in ways they couldn’t imagine - not being able to meet up with friends, possibly moving out of shared housing or halls and the closure of campus. It was decided that the UK government would implement strict social distancing measures referred to as lockdown which has now become a normality. Messages of stay at home have been plastered everywhere across social media from various celebrities who try to use their position to encourage others. It is in times like this that coming together in unity is more important than ever, which why at 8pm exactly, every Thursday many take to the streets to applaud the brilliant job NHS workers are doing. These are also unprecedented times for students, with no real idea to when things will be back to normal.
It wasn’t an easy decision for me coming home, I had been so comfortable living in Southampton, and I had a good bond with my housemates. The decision was made though, with no idea as to when I would return back to the city which I grew so used to living in.
The situation itself has affected a mass amount of people, businesses have suffered, jobs have been lost and the uncertainty which lies among many university students. Like others I am in the final year of my studies, studying a BA (Hons) Sports Journalism degree. I feel a little more at ease with my assignments being extended and knowing a safety net was put in place from Solent University, although I am oddly missing Mountbatten Library, a central study hub for me and a place which I would actually class a second home!
There is no real good advice as to what works best with studying as everyone works differently, I am more of a night owl myself and study best later on in the day. I often set targets each day for what I want to get done, for instance with my dissertation it would be a word count target each day to help break it up, then when I am done I reward myself with a treat. I am lucky to live in the countryside with the space to go on a nice walk or a bike ride, of course, limited to once a day. As well as this my family have a sizeable garden, where I can go to rest my brain from the countless hours I have spent studying.
I would have like to have stayed in Southampton, but I feel like I made the right decision. I don’t think I would have felt as comfortable in this situation to stay because the support I feel with my family is different compared to any I would get with housemates, as they also have their own university problems to worry about. My mental health is better at home in this situation and I have the luxury of having food cooked for me! Although studying has actually been more of a challenge - my study quarters now have been a little more limiting with the table in the dining room used a workspace, as I share a bedroom with my younger brother with no room for a desk myself. I also find it important to do activities such as reading, going for a walk, or cycling to help keep my mind off work. And during this time it’s also important to keep in touch with family and friends to see how they are coping with everything. No one knows how long this situation will last, but the best thing to do is take each day as it comes, and if you’re a final year student, like me, picture the end goal - finishing!