Friday 30 October 2020

Tips to make it through first year: Covid-19 edition.

Luana shares a few tips and tricks to make it through the first year of university whilst surviving a pandemic. From a Covid graduate to a Covid fresher.

- Luana

It’s 2020, your first year is clearly not everything you thought it would be. Freshers Fair and hungover lectures have turned into social isolation and virtual classes. Meeting new people has become more difficult and going out almost not worth it. You have been spending way too much time with yourself and have little idea on what to do with all this free time. Hence, the question you have all been wondering: How are we going to survive this academic year? Here are a few tips and tricks from a Covid graduate to a Covid fresher to make it the best Freshers’ Year possible whilst living through a pandemic.

1. Making friends

Making friends at university is always a primary concern for freshers. Understandably so, considering it can shape your entire university experience. As the world shifts online and human connection is limited by social distancing, Covid has made making friends much harder. Or has it? We live in a digital age. Although we are divided by social distancing, we are bound by technology. Nowadays we buy nearly all of our clothes, jewellery, groceries and amenities online. We meet our significant others online; we play games and share our lives online. So why not make friends online? I know what you're thinking: Lame. You already have hundreds of Facebook friends, thousands of Instagram followers, years of Snapchat streaks. You already have online friends. But no, I am talking deeper than virtual connections. True human connections. Apps such as Serendip, seek to connect you to friends nearby who share similar values and personalities. Kind of like the friend that tells you, “Omg, you’ve got to meet x, you guys are the same!” Such platforms assemble a variety of like-minded people nearby into a common space. Perhaps what societies would have done in more ordinary times. When you can’t go to socials, why not bring the socials to youOnly this time, from the comfort of your bed.

2. Self-isolation

Everybody’s two most hated words. However, for those of you who are coming from abroad or living in accommodation, it is almost inevitable. I imagine most of us have had to go through it by now and it is only that experience that can teach you the value of time and the true length of a week. However, there are ways to make the most out of your time in self-isolation.

First, guiltless binge-watching of your favourite series. Don’t have one? Perfect, it’s time for you to discover one, or two, or ten. Now that you have nothing better to do, you don’t have to feel bad about staying in bed and watching Netflix all day. Second, discover new interests. As cheesy as it sounds, this has been the highlight of my isolation . Experiment with cooking or baking, try making bead necklaces, finish gigantic colourings, try yoga, participate in online sports classes, paint, draw, read, anything than can get you exploring and out of your habit loop. In my experience, I discovered my interest in mediation. Never in a thousand years would I have ever considered dedicating a fraction of my time to meditating yet here I was, reserving almost half an hour a day to it. A recommendation for those of you who might be interested in trying it out, Headspace. The app takes a Gen-Z approach to meditation and allows the experience to be accessible to all.

Finally, reconnect with friends abroad. Open Facetime, Skype, Zoom or whatever platform you like to use and check in on a friend. It’s important to keep in touch with the people you love. Although you won’t necessarily want to catch up with your local friends while you are stuck in your room because FOMO, there are people further away that might be glad to hear from you. Take the time to ask about them.

3. Celebrations.

Ah yes, celebration! An almost obsolete term. For those of you wondering how one celebrates their first high scoring essay, end of term, a cancelled lecture or postponed exam - these are all relevant questions! I struggled with this during lockdown. I discovered that some of the alternatives I really enjoyed were a round of Fibbage with my new friends or online zoom celebrations. Although some of you might not think highly of zoom celebrations, these can be pretty fun. My university organised a short online graduation ceremony and to my great surprise, it was actually quite amusing. I guess the biggest secret to surviving university through a pandemic is to be adaptable. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

For similar advice and wellbeing resources, visit Student Minds or Student Space

I am a 2020 graduate. Like many others, the end of my university experience was a difficult challenge and unlike anything I could have ever imagined. Freshers today are facing a similar experience and I hope I can make it easier in some way for them.


1 comment:

  1. Making friends always was my main problem. Being an introvert is not that easy thing :)