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COVID-19 has affected everyone globally, and students are no different. Universities and schools are closed until further notice to help slow down the spread of the virus. Most universities have moved to teaching online, and there hasn't been any indication of when things will return to normal.

Following Boris Johnson's announcement of a 3-week lockdown (April 2020), we wanted to push some positivity your way and encourage you to look at this period as a time to focus on your priorities. This could be a great opportunity for you to do the tasks you have been putting off, learn a new skill or take that well-needed rest time to let yourself slow down from the fast pace of ordinary life.

We caught up with four students to see how they are spending their time in lockdown.

Tasmin – Final Year – University of Westminster

Tell us what you’ve been doing since lockdown?

“I have had uni work to do so I've been trying my hardest to stay focused. I think it's easy to feel disheartened by the situation and make excuses as to why you can't do something during this time, especially when pretty much everything and everyone around us has shut down.

For me, I had to go into it setting myself goals to achieve by the end of lockdown. Having this extra time is invaluable, and I want to put it to good use. That's why I thought it would be the perfect time for me to progress my learning of Mandarin. I had started lessons while I was at university but very casually with not much commitment.

I want to get to at least a beginner level because I'm considering moving after I graduate to work abroad in the Far East as I have family there. I want to make sure I'm using this extra time wisely. The way I look at it is, I can either come away from these three weeks (or however long it will end up being) regretting my progress or come out of lockdown having progressed and learnt something”.

Amazing, how is your Mandarin coming along?

“It’s better than it was for sure. I have dedicated a couple of hours a day on it, as well as having regular calls with my family in the Far East to catch up and practise speaking the language".

Joseph – 3rd Year – University of Warwick

Tell us what you’ve been doing since lockdown?

“I am using this time to get my CV perfect and apply for graduate roles. To be honest at first, when it was announced that my uni would stop face-to-face teaching, I felt disheartened. I am missing out on the last parts of my uni experience, and I do understand that loads of people and companies are going through a lot worse, but we are allowed to feel a little sad that we will probably miss our graduation and our last few months at uni.  

But having said that, I do need this extra time to get my CV perfect, research what graduate roles are out there and start applying. I am thankful for this time to do that”.

Is there any advice you would give to others in lockdown?

“Yes, write a list of tasks you want to achieve in this period and get it done! It is the best time to do it”.

Tilly – 2nd Year – Nottingham Trent University

Tell us what you’ve been doing since lockdown?

“I'm an outdoorsy person, so I have struggled a little in the last couple of days, especially as I have come back to my parents’ to isolate, which means a new environment (lived away for nearly two years) and a new routine. I've been trying to keep myself busy and using my daily allowance of one walk/exercise a day. I've started following a fitness plan on Sweat which sets out daily workouts which you can do at home.

It has helped to have something to focus on. I've also been doing some website development for my friend, which has earned me a little cash as well.

To keep connected I’ve been video Whatsapp calling my friends from uni. We set a time in the evening, and even if the call is just for 5 minutes, it's nice to have some human interaction that isn't your parents!

Lastly, I have also gotten really into Tik Tok. It's a platform where you can create funny videos or dance routines. Be warned though, it's addictive, so if you get into it, you'll probably spend a lot of time on it.”

Sarah – 2nd Year – Oxford University

Tell us what you’ve been doing since lockdown?

“Well, with regard to university work, I have been completing my assignments as usual and reading around modules. Outside of uni work, I have enjoyed spending more time with my family.

I have gone back home for isolation, and my dad has been working from home. It's so nice to have the time with my sister and parents. I don't think there’s ever been a time when my dad has been around as much.

I've also used the time to relax, have lots of baths and practise self-care. As you probably know, uni can be pretty full-on with deadlines to hit and constant studying. So, I'm trying not to feel guilty if I take the time to relax”.

Is there any advice you would give to others in lockdown?

“I would say don't feel pressured to spend the time doing something productive. If you want to chill out, then do so! You'll probably never have a time like this again! Equally, if chilling out is going to bother you and make you feel like you aren't progressing then do your tasks. It depends on your personality and what works best for you”.

We hope you enjoyed some insight into how some students up and down the country are keeping busy during this time of uncertainty. We love seeing tips like setting clear goals to achieve during this period, learning a new skill and spending valuable time with your family to reconnect.

We want to keep you motivated during this time so here's more tips on adjusting to working from home, how to protect your headspace and how to stay on top of your student finances.