“Lying in my bed, I hear the clock tick and think of you
Caught up in circles
Confusion is nothing new
Flashback, warm nights
Almost left behind
Suitcase of memories
Cydni Lauper’s 1983 song ‘Time After Time’ is now perhaps more relevant than ever as lyrics resonate an infamous soundtrack for the UK and many internationally as we are all too familiar with the rigmarole of you, Lockdown. It has been proven as much taxing as necessary.
Last time we spoke, I was saying a ‘see you later’, perhaps with a slight pessimism that casted doubts of what the future held for us when restarting university. Sadly, we are still not at a point of a permanent goodbye.
Since last speaking, I have been graced with your presence twice more and wait in the coming weeks to see whether you will be staying a little while longer.
I left the first Lockdown having found a new appreciation for the slower pace of life, the summer warmth staining summer, and indulging the talented words of others with an afternoon read.
In a re-shift towards university life and the summer chapter closing, this lifestyle suddenly felt unliveable and more recently I have felt duped, having known what taking time out can feel like and how the formality of university routine rarely allows us this luxury. Further, deeper ponderings have since questioned whether this should be limited to just that – a luxury.
And although we largely (and perhaps naively) presumed another turn of Lockdown living would be easier upon a second ride, personally, for me this was quickly corrected. A new environment and change in routine brought a new challenge.
But this is not to say it has been all bad.
Learning time-management will forever be a takeaway, hearing the usual university moans of busy schedules and fast-approaching deadlines somehow remains a comfort to hear, LIMUN (Model UN) training sessions have become a weekly highlight, writing a form of escapism and Saturday Cocktail evenings a regular feature with my housemate, and of course Facetime, MS Teams and Zoom have solidified their staple within social life.
I have now spent three lockdowns in university in some form or another, three lockdowns away from my better half, a lockdown away from home, and three lockdowns hoping it would be the last…
In the first we had summer to keep our sanity. In the second we had the Christmas spirit keeping our company. The third brought the winter blues that have wallowed alongside us.
However, with a vaccination programme now underway, there seems to be a more cemented form of hope as we approach the upcoming February review – whatever the outcome and however long it takes to return to the world as we knew it – it is on its way. We are (albeit slowly) on our way.
And finally, as it only seems apt for the time of writing – Happy Valentines Day. But whether celebrating with a partner, friends or not at all, celebrate and perhaps love instead how you as a student have made it through the combination of living and studying in a pandemic and all the complexity it brings.
And to you, Lockdown, I do not love you or your company. But I love how you are there with the best intentions – to care and protect, and hopefully slow the daily figures of those affected by and lost to COVID-19. I do love you for that. So, if you need to stay to safeguard others, stay.
Certainly, if this is the case, we will be staying put with you and I am sure many others will have more to add to what I have said to you today. So, with the series revival, I cannot wait to see how everyone else is finding life with you, again, in what feels like “time after time”.
Courtney Bridges History, Politics and International Relations, Royal Holloway University of London, (series creator).