The recent pandemic (Covid-19) has impacted education systems in universities around the world. The impact has been dramatic for institutions, academics, and students looking for workable short term solutions for online teaching and learning. The unique challenge facing higher education encouraged DEN to look for opportunities to stay in contact with students using online facilities. Through the academic initiative, we invited students to meet and organise feasible and appropriate projects at this time. Using Inside Westminster we have agreed that students will write an article and or provide a 5 minutes video of their reflection and experience of Covid-19. We have encouraged students from all over the world to express their stories and share them with each other, hoping that this would provide a channel not only to learn but also to engage with each other. Hence, the following articles in this section are students’ reflections/experiences of Covid-19.
It was the beginning of March 2020 and life as an undergraduate student was going perfectly. I was meeting up with friends, attending university and just having fun. Then boom in comes corona and everything turns sideways. I was suddenly at home, attending classes through zoom, and living through a real-life history book.
In the days, weeks even that lead to the UK’s official lockdown, I watched as the whole world turned to an eerie quiet, no one was on the streets, no one was allowed outside, it was just a big worldwide silence. The whole experience was surreal, it felt like a whole dream, in my head I was like ‘is this really happening?’ That lead to inertia setting in.
A big sacrifice we all had to make while being in lockdown was our social lives, gone were the days where we hang out at parks, gone were the days strolling through London, gone were the days meeting our friends and family. It felt so different, I was so used to seeing my friends every day that it felt weird not seeing them all the time. But even though I could not see them physically, I saw them from time to time virtually.
During lockdown I think I have become a changed person, it made me learn not to take university and my free time for granted. Lockdown has motivated me in ways that I couldn’t really imagine. For example, I started taking different online courses that were about different sections in international relations like U.S public policy, which is not something we learn during university. I also started brushing up on my Turkish, as this is a language I want to become fluent in. Lockdown has opened up many different ideas and horizons for myself that I believe can help me in the future. Moreover, I started to read again as before I did not have much time to read as I was busy doing other stuff, so it was nice to pick up some old books and read through them.
I think now since lockdown has eased a bit we will start going back to normal life. However, it still feels so odd, it feels like I have been detached by reality, it honestly doesn’t feel real. It feels like this is just a really long dream I will wake up from. On top of this, I think lockdown has made me appreciate the outside world a whole lot more as I can’t wait to go back, see new places, try new things and explore the world.
By: Tasneem Fadel, BA (Hons) International Relations and Development