At the start of lockdown, I thought I’d thrive given my introverted-ness. I’m a homebody and usually have no objections to working from home. I wasn’t that surprised it didn’t take all that long for me to feel cabin fever-ish though. I mean it’s a whole other thing to be forced to spend very nearly all of your time at home, isn’t it? But I really did think I would find it easy. Newsflash: It’s been challenging.
I think I fell into the trap many have – romanticizing this period in our lives. I thought I’d have all this free time to indulge in hobbies, to be creative, to get a lot done. I didn’t quite expect how stressful living amidst the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic could be. I didn’t expect my sleeping schedule to be so out of sync and to feel tired all the time. I didn’t expect having to write up my end of year report without complete data. I didn’t expect my laptop charger to break. And I sure didn’t expect to lose a family member.
There have been some overwhelming, exhausting, too stressful days. And I know you’ve had them too. Everyone I’ve spoken to has struggled in one or, more likely, several ways; sleep seems to be one of the main things that’s difficult to get back to ‘normal’.
I shared, in a video, what my lockdown routine is like as a PhD student – the gist is that I don’t have much of a routine, certainly nowhere near as scheduled like I used to have. (I do have some anchors to my day though: I have the same ‘morning’ and ‘nighttime’ routine no matter what time I actually end up waking or going to sleep.) The days often feel like they’re blending into one extended period of time.
Side note: Come join us on Students at Home to hang out online with other UoM students.
Anyway, I thought it would be nice to hear from other students across the University about how they are spending lockdown. Maybe you’ll get some tips you can implement in your life. At the very least, it’s always comforting to know that there others who feel similarly to you. I definitely have.
I’ve reached out to UoM students Yichao, Emily, Janine and Carola and asked them the following questions:
- Where are you spending lockdown?
- What are your days like?
- What’s the worst thing about being home all the time?
- What’s the best thing?
- What do you miss most about Manchester and Uni?
- What’s the first thing you’ll do when everything opens up again?
Here’s what they had to say…
Yichao – 2nd year PhD
- In my apartment, in Manchester
- In March and April, I was concentrated on writing my annual report. In May, I was working during the daytime, as my project is material modelling, it’s not affected seriously by the lockdown. In the night, I would read books/papers, watch TV or video-chat with my friends.
- It would reduce my working efficiently, as I am always distracted by other things. Additionally, since I live alone, I need to spend a lot of time every day preparing food and cleaning.
- My friend left two cats with me as she cannot take them onto the plane during the pandemic, so I won’t feel lonely during the lockdown although I live alone.
- Everything in our normal life.
- Go to the barber shop and HAIRCUT!!!
Emily – 1st year
- I’m at home (with my siblings and parents), currently in The Netherlands
- They all feel the same. It’s a mix of eating, sleeping, doing some Uni work and procrastinating. Some days are more productive than others. It depends on if I’ve made a proper to do list or not and if I set any deadlines for myself.
- Probably not having a change of space. I don’t really go out so all of my days blend into each other.
- Being able to spend more time with family and being able to relax more.
- Mainly my friends and just seeing everyone at Uni.
- Not sure, if the weather is good, maybe get some ice cream at an ice cream parlor and meet up with my friends.
Janine – 4th year
- Busy (exams).
- Nothing to do? Same repeated thing everyday.
- Get to spend more time with family.
- The Uni vibes and having something to do, meet up with friends.
- Shopping and eat out with friends.
Carola – Masters student
- Whitworth Park University Accommodation, Manchester.
- I mostly spend them in my room, working on my assignments or dissertation. I cook and have my meals in the common kitchen area. I workout and do yoga in my room and I also jog a couple days a week. I go to the grocery store once a week. And I’ve started to meet friends at parks once a week as well.
- It gets lonely and boring sometimes.
- There aren’t as many distractions as usual.
- The busy nightlife, and the option of going out to a cafe or restaurant. Studying on campus with friends. Attending face to face classes.
- Depending on how safe I feel, start going to cafes and restaurants. And travelling!
I hope that gave you a little peek into a few fellow students’ homes and lives. Clearly, we’re all in the same boat in missing ‘normal’ life, and look forward to coming together when the right time comes. In the meantime, stay in touch with friends and family, perhaps try one of these ever-so-slightly-productive to-dos, but most importantly take care of yourself.
Finally, don’t forget to join the Students at Home Facebook group if you haven’t already!