Wednesday, May 22Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Five Things Lockdown Has Taught Me

Back in March when the coronavirus outbreak grew into a global pandemic, the world was put on pause. Adjusting to this “new normal” has taught me a lot of things about myself and the world around me, but here are the five key lessons I have taken from it: 

1. Things can change drastically, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

It’s crazy to think that back in late-February, I was standing in a sold-out arena and dining in a restaurant with masses of people around me, and less than a month later the whole country was shut down. It was uncomfortably numbing when I came to the realisation that the summer I had been looking forward to was basically cancelled, and I spent days on end thinking about what could’ve been. However, I soon realised that no amount of my sorrow could reverse what had happened. The powerlessness I initially felt was gradually replaced by acceptance and I learned to adapt. 

2. I will always remember to be grateful for what I already have.

As dire as the global circumstances were, they reminded me of how privileged I am. Yes, I was upset about my violin recital and orchestral performances being cancelled days before they were supposed to happen, as well as campus shutting down and the academic year being cut short so abruptly. But I was able to easily move back home and my family and I were safe and well. It breaks my heart to think of those who can’t say the same thing. Additionally, being restricted to one outdoor excursion per day at the beginning of lockdown made me realise how I had taken leaving my house to meet up with friends or go shopping for granted. Even so, my daily walks with my family were chances for me to spend more time with them and I genuinely looked forward to them every day. 

3. I must stop feeling guilty about taking time off my studies to relax. 

Before campus closed, I was working almost constantly to meet my end of term deadlines, but due to the pandemic, they were all (thankfully) pushed back. I was so stressed about my studies and the state of the world and desperately needed to regain a sense of calm. So, once I got home, I took around 2-3 weeks off from my assignments and exam revision to bake some banana bread, play Sims 4 and binge as much Netflix as I could with my sister. It was like taking a deep breath and showed me that I wasn’t being kind to myself in not giving myself breaks. It’s okay to be a couch potato sometimes in order to prevent burnout. 

4. It’s never too late to learn a new skill

The monotony of lockdown kicked in just after exams and I had no idea what to do with all the new free time I had. I knew that I didn’t want to waste my summer break and decided to find some new hobbies. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to finish writing a short story, and thanks to my boredom, I have written five since signing up to the RHUL Writing Challenge. I also did a free screen-writing course on FutureLearn out of curiosity and taught myself how to cross stitch using YouTube tutorials. I doubt that I would have done any of these things if we weren’t in lockdown.

5. Patience

Though there’s no certainty in how long the pandemic will last, I know that we will eventually see the end of it. But until then, we need to continue taking precautions to ensure our safety and that of those around us. 

Renée Lewis