Today’s Stay At Home Diary comes from Callum, a student of International Business Management and French at Lancaster University.
This article is part of our series, ‘The Stay At Home Diaries’, published every day of the partial lockdown in the UK amid the Coronavirus pandemic. To find out more about this series, click here.
It’s a Sunday. A day where I would usually be buried deep in a copy of La Grammaire des Premiers Temps about now in preparation for Monday’s 09:00am French seminar that I would inevitably sleep through either way. This particular Sunday, I would be getting ready and looking forward to the National Union of Students’ annual National Conference in Liverpool – an event that I had expected to attend for my fourth year running.
Instead, I find myself writing this diary.
My name is Callum Slater and I am a first-year undergraduate studying International Business Management with French at Lancaster University. The reason that I find myself writing this diary and not crying into a grammar textbook over prepositional phrases will be undoubtedly clear to you.
The world has ground to a halt.
On the 13th March, Lancaster joined a long list of UK universities that would suspend all face-to-face teaching. This would quickly set in motion a chain of further closures and cancellations: the student nightclub, our inter-university sports tournament with York, the end of year parties – cancelled. I’ll be honest, I was naïve. Months ago when people started talking about a nasty cold thousands of miles across the globe I never really thought that it could or would affect me and yet, here we are, in our sixth day of staying at home in what many are calling lockdown.
It’s currently the Lent vacation at Lancaster; a month in which I had planned to stay on campus to study while the rest of my housemates spread across the country and so I was expecting to spend a lot of time alone. In fact, the pandemic has meant that two of my housemates also decided to stay and so I have more company that I might have otherwise!
To date, I’ve been managing the situation pretty well and making the most of this unusual opportunity that we have landed ourselves in. I am making good progress on my remaining bits of coursework; cooking more than usual and eating well; staying in touch with lots of friends; and of course making the absolute most of a seven-day free trial with Disney+. Big Hero 6 is the best – change my mind.
I guess that the biggest challenge for me right now is the uncertainty on how long all of this going to last. Should I be revising for exams that may yet be cancelled? Do I have a job this summer? Will this all have blown over by the new academic year? I am a planner and I have found it incredibly difficult to adjust to not being able to do so. Accepting that the situation is totally beyond my own control has brought me a lot of comfort and I am working through each week as it comes.
One thing that has filled lots of my time is staying in touch with all of my incredible friends. We spend a lot of time talking about how technology is pulling us apart as a society but in this worrying time it has been an incredible force for good. Our streets may be empty but our houses are livelier than ever before as we all join with an incredible sense of togetherness. Houseparty has been my app of choice for connecting with friends and I recommend it to you wholly – although you’ll probably exhaust all of the trivia games in an hour or two, and don’t even try Chips & Guac!
I am most astounded by the creativity and innovation that this ‘pause’ has fostered. As we adapt to new ways of working, I have found myself thinking about solutions in a whole new way. One such event that I was involved with was a Facebook live Quarantine Quiz with my university college. My housemate and I hosted the quiz over a live stream and had over one hundred students and their families sat around the computer and joining in which was an absolute blast. We’ll be repeating the event every Friday and so whether you attend Lancaster or not, make sure you tune into The County College on Facebook on Friday night at 20:00 for a bit of light-hearted trivia fun!
I’m a social person and so the thing I am missing the most is definitely group interaction. I know that this isn’t going to end overnight and recovery is going to be a gradual process as we readjust to the hustle and bustle of working life but you can certainly expect to see me giving my mates a big old hug with a pint of cider when we do.
These are days that we are not going to forget any time soon but I know that I want to reflect back on 2020 as a year that I worked hard, stayed positive and made just as many memories as any other! From the bottom of my heart, I wish all of you the very best and hope that you and your families are safe. Stay at home and stay connected.
- Britons have been told by the UK government that they must stay at home, apart from some very limited exceptions. For further information, check gov.uk/coronavirus.
- For our latest coverage of the Coronavirus pandemic and for links to official health information, check our Coronavirus page.
- For advice on how to manage your mental health during these difficult times and for links to support, click here.