A Year in Lockdown: What have we learnt?
By Millie Smith
As I write this it’s Easter Sunday. Another Easter Sunday in lockdown, which I never would’ve imagined this time last year. As we now find ourselves easing out of third (and hopefully final) lockdown, it’s hard not to reflect on the ‘unprecedented’ year we’ve all experienced.
I can't help but feel that there's a lot I've learnt in the last year, being isolated at home forced me to think outside the box and actively search for things to do, rather than my typical lazing around at home during the holidays! I knew that with weeks and weeks (which turned into months and months) of time to fill, I needed to keep busy with something other than my university work or I was highly likely to lose my mind. Lockdown is probably the primary reason for the birth of The Collective Magazine, which undoubtedly wouldn’t have happened had I not had the spare time lockdown offered me.
Whilst the progress with understanding and coping with COVID has progressed since we entered into this pandemic last spring, we've also learnt a lot about the lives we live.
1. The Value of Socialising
Now you can ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that I’m not the most extroverted when it comes to socialising. I have small circles of people I enjoy spending time with and I’d much rather stay at home with a takeaway that head off for a night out at the clubs. I found myself missing those social connections, especially with my university flatmates and zoom can only help so far! Missing out on the end of my first-year experience (and now most of my second year also) made me determined to make the most of socialising and doing more with friends when I was finally able to again, and I hope to never take that for granted again.
2. There’s more to life than University
Lockdown taught me that working was not the be all and end all. University was still important, of course, but for my own wellbeing I had to look for other things to do that would relax and uplift me, instead of stressing me out. Primarily, I baked. I baked brownies relentlessly, occasionally switching it up with some chocolate cupcakes or cookies. It forced me to focus on something other than stressful coursework for a few hours and that’s something I’ve continued since the end of lockdown one, especially when spending time in my university flat last term – baking a delicious distraction was well worth it.
3. Flexibility is key
If anything, the pandemic has taught us that the need for flexibility is key. Whether that’s flexibility on working arrangements, or on deadlines, or even just flexibility to take time for yourself, we’ve never needed it more and it needs to continue past this pandemic. It’s taught us that everyone has different needs, that not everyone wants to, or can, work your stereotypical 9 to 5 office job or that not everyone can access the internet 24/7. We’ve learnt to adjust to each other's needs and I truly hope that this has a long-lasting impact. We all require different things for a myriad of reasons, and human compassion and understanding will be of great value to our future.