The Speaker
Saturday, 18 May 2024 – 10:32

The Stay At Home Diaries: Emily Sims

This Stay At Home Diary comes from Emily Sims, a student of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia (UEA). 

This article is part of our series, ‘The Stay At Home Diaries’, published during the UK lockdown amid the Coronavirus pandemic. To find out more about this series, click here.


Hey, my name’s Emily and I’m in my penultimate year of studying for an MSci in Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia (UEA). All face-to-face teaching was cancelled at UEA many weeks ago now and has since been delivered online, where it will be taught for the remainder of the academic year.

We are technically now in our Easter break, but the weeks now seem to merge into one and I can’t say it feels much different to any other week since this all began. Currently, my weeks are mainly consisting of working towards the remaining assessments that I have left to complete this academic year.

Assessments have created a large amount of uncertainty for many students recently, especially around what assessments would still go ahead and how these would be completed. For now, anyway, it seems all my assignments and exams will go ahead as planned, the only difference being that exams will be completed online. Some aspects are still unclear, but it has been helpful to gain some clarity on how the situation will unfold in the coming months regarding assignments at least. This format for completing assignments brings its own challenges with it – from not being able to visit the library to the uncertainty of the current situation hampering productivity. However, the UEA has put in place different measures to try and make some allowances for these challenges.

Personally, I prefer to work from home but of course, the current circumstances are unprecedented. It now means that all my family are also home all day and trying to work, which does present issues when the Wi-Fi decides to die and creates many more distractions than usual. We are all getting into the swing of it now though and new routines soon come about. Although, I have to say it is challenging to not know when this will all end.

Much of my time, outside of university work, has been spent watching movies and playing games with my family. Our dog has been loving having everyone at home all the time and we have been spending our daily exercise taking him on walks around our village – being sure to keep our distance from others, which inevitably leads to a lot of zig-zagging across the road.

Additionally, I have spent a significant portion of my time staying connected with the rest of my family, who we are unable to physically see. As my grandparents are not tech-savvy at all this has involved a lot of long chats over the phone, often discussing the ins and outs of the current situation we find ourselves in. Having the freedom to see them whenever is something I am looking forward to once this is all over.

The current pandemic and the lockdown we are now experiencing is something that none of us could have ever anticipated for 2020. We are undoubtedly living through incredibly scary and difficult times, but it has been inspiring to see the sense of community this has promoted. While walking around my little village it is so humbling to see all the rainbows in everyone’s windows and to hear everyone out clapping at 8 pm on a Thursday.


  • Britons have been told by the UK government that they must stay at home, apart from some very limited exceptions. For further information, check
  • 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.
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