With last weeks announcement of the roadmap to ease lockdown, there will be many of you feeling excited or cautious about the prospect of gaining back a sense of normality.
Outline of Dates
Many of you reading this will be students at the University of Winchester. Myself, like the rest of you it feels like we have been left out again by the government with the only mention of university students being practical courses being allowed back onto campus. Every university student and every person up and down the country is going through a different situation. For me, as a third year university student, I am having to accept that my time at university may have ended with the rest of my course being carried out online. This is something that none of us expected or imagined when starting out our university journey and something we have had to adapt to like many others.
How university students have been let down
Over the past year university students have missed out on a lot. For many it’s the feeling of not being provided with the full student experience, as we are thinking where our student tuition fees are going when online university does not provide the same quality of learning online as in person and we can’t gain the same university resources. For some students paying for student accommodation has become an issue, especially for many with the current lockdown and not being able to return to our student houses in Winchester, it is something we have had to adapt t0o. The anger for students surrounding this is having to pay for a student house that we are not allowed to go and live in. These lockdowns have created a mix of emotions and brought a toll on many people’s mental health. Sadly it feels the lockdowns have now become something we are accustomed to and something we have just had to come to accept. With the provision of last week’s leaving lockdown plan it has provided the idea that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
For me personally, my lecturers have handled the situation well and have been there to support us. Sure it is not the same as going into class in person but it is good to know that our course wants the best for us throughout this situation. I like to keep busy so in the first lockdown I created my own podcast and for my podcast I interview people so this has been a new way to connect with people I did not know before and has helped me develop a new skill throughout the past year. Times like this make you appreciate the people you have around you and I am grateful for the time I have got to spend with my family in the first and third lockdown - even if the third lockdown was unexpected! I am also grateful that I had the opportunity to be at my student house in the second lockdown with my housemates.
Committee Members' Thoughts on Leaving Lockdown
It is definitely ok to be thinking and feeling multiple different things right now we are living through a global pandemic this has not been an easy time for anyone to live through. I asked some of our committee members their thoughts exiting lockdown:
My thoughts on leaving lockdown
The government have not handled this pandemic to the best of their abilities. This will definitely be a historic time period to look back on in the future. - Kate Mardon
However, it is good to see that the government has now put a plan in place and are catering to support industries that need it, giving them an idea of when they can reopen their businesses and gain clients once again. In a way it feels a bit optimistic to have the plan written out for the foreseeable future when we don’t know fully what could happen next in a short amount of time. The thing that amazes me is how in a few months time the plan suggests there could be a full sense of normality returning and that by the end of June there will be no legal limits on social contact, something that feels alien at the moment. I feel that from the experience of living through three lockdown's I am at a point where I don’t want to be optimistic because we have been through so much. I don’t want to get my hopes up for them to be let down. I am glad we have a plan going forward so that makes me feel positive but I think it's a case of we have been here before. I am hopeful that this is the last time we have to go through a full lockdown and that from here onwards things start to get more positive. Some of you may be hoping for this lockdown plan to end more quickly. On the other hand I am grateful that the sense of normality that people have been craving will be reintroduced back into society. Some of those essential services will be able to resume and I am grateful to have a change of scenery after being stuck inside for a long period of time. I think this is what most people will enjoy the most.
Mental Health Support Networks
If you are finding the exit of lockdown, or lockdown itself currently challenging, please check out some of the useful links below. This has not been an easy time for any of us university students so it is important to look after yourself.