COVID-19 has impacted everyone in some way and as a law student, I’ve been no exception and my life has definitely changed. Whilst I found isolation and lockdown changes hard, lockdown did teach me various life lessons, such as slowing down.
Lockdown happened during my first year at university so it was definitely strange, to say the least – I had already experienced a lot of changes in my personal life and moved out from home for the first time in September 2019. I’d just about got used to the university lifestyle, education and how exams work when suddenly, everything changed. Whilst I was lucky to experience my first two semesters as normal without COVID, the whole of my third semester was put online. Not having lectures in person and having them through a screen meant I found I had to put a lot more effort into concentrating and making sure I was engaging with the content. It’s a lot easier to disconnect when the only thing in front of you is a laptop screen and you have the ability to replay the video as many times as you like. My tutorials (discussions of the subject- in my case law, in small groups), through Microsoft Teams, was an interesting experience – they were live and sometimes there would be slight glitches or moments where we were all trying to just familiarise ourselves with the software. As opposed to when they were in person, having these virtual meant that students could hide behind their screens and not even have to show their face- sometimes not even use their voice as they could use the chat feature (which works very much like text messaging in a group chat) instead. I did miss the interaction in person, but online learning did have advantages like being able to do it from the comfort of your own home and aside from tutorials which were live, being able to do lectures at whatever time you liked as they were prerecorded.
Although coronavirus cancelled pretty much all of my events and my whole semester at uni, it failed to cancel my exams. My exams, which typically would have been closed book, were turned into coursework style, but with a 10 day period. It was stressful as I, like everyone else in the same situation as me, had no idea what to expect or quite how to prepare. I did not really know how to approach revising. Now that I have finished my first year, I’m looking at picking up some of my french again and getting ready to go back to university. When I go back, I’ll be having a mix of socially distanced in-person teaching and virtual teaching.
Since I’ve described what COVID was like as a law student, I wanted to talk about what I did outside of ‘student life’ and generally my experience and what I learnt. Whilst lockdown was difficult, and my motivation went on the holiday at the start, it did give me a lot more free time and space to think. At university, I’d generally kept myself pretty busy, continuing my blog (esterella.co.uk) and getting involved in different events; from societies to law talks to work experience. This meant I hadn’t really taken the time to pause. Personal things happening in my life meant that I also needed a break. Although lockdown initially had a negative impact on my mental health, the time to think and ground myself was helpful- I was able to be a lot more reflective. It also allowed me to process all of my experiences this year and realise just how much I had to be grateful for. Whether that be the fact that I live in a house with space, to the freedom we had of seeing friends whenever we liked and not worrying about social distancing or wearing a mask. COVID gave me a lot more free time as everything was pretty much cancelled. I was, therefore, able to dedicate time to doing things I enjoyed like reading for FUN something that isn’t law-related, drawing, painting and music. To my surprise, I actually felt very creative during lockdown. I’d love to say to you COVID made me super productive 24/7 and I picked up lots of new skills, but that wouldn’t be truthful. I did do research into my interests, but more than anything I took it as a time to pause and focus on me – do more of what I enjoyed that I hadn’t really been able to do whilst at university. It had been a while since I had had so much free time to think without any clear commitment. Now, I’m looking at preparing to adapt to a different style of life to the one I had beforehand, but hopefully getting back into the swing of things (safely).
Esterella comes from a mix of one of my nicknames ‘Tere’, short for Teresa and ‘estrella’ which is the Spanish word for star. I am a 19-year-old girl sharing thoughts, honest experiences, advice and lifestyle tips. My aim is to help, inspire, motivate, and add positivity to the internet, whilst learning about myself in the process.
Social media (and websites online) can sometimes give false perceptions on everyday life, making it seem like everything is “perfect” and nothing ever goes wrong. I wanted to create a space where I can honestly talk about experiences (even the more negative ones) and lifestyle generally, but still provide some sort of motivation. I hope that this place is one which you can turn to for a little pick me up.
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