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Covid-19Student Journeys

Quarantine: Dealing with my Social Anxiety

At the start of lockdown, I was happy for someone who has social anxiety and having fewer social interactions felt like a positive thing. I am a key worker and was getting to work for free with far less people around than usual, so there was no pressure for me to go out and meet friends. This meant every day off, and it gave me time to focus on University work, however not every day was productive. I also live in London, whilst my family are up North, so using video calls to speak to family was fairly normal for me, so I felt like nothing much had changed and that my wife and I were quite lucky.

Three words to describe my feelings during lockdown would be relief, apprehensiveness and gratefulness.  Relief due to it feeling like a break from the expectation to socialise, apprehensiveness of what was to come, not just for myself and my family but for the residents I cared for at the care home I work at, and gratefulness due to both my wife and I being keyworks and not being in the position many have been in, like not being able to afford to pay their rent. During the start of lockdown, I was finishing my first year of my masters, which I felt I had more time to focus on, as other commitments other than work were cancelled. At times it was quite hard to concentrate but I thankfully was still able to get good grades. Moreover, since I had quite a bit of free time I have made a good attempt at reading the never ending stack of books on my shelf.

However, things I took for granted before lockdown was being able to go back home when I had a few days off. Although, I was quite happy not to have that pressure to socialise, I actually started to miss socialising and being able to go and meet friends for a drink and give them a hug, which is definitely something I took for granted.

The post-pandemic seems quite uncertain, I have tried to not focus on what happens after lockdown as I don’t believe society will be back to ‘normal’ for a very long time, if ever. Social distancing and wearing masks seems to me it will be something that will stay for the foreseeable future. Moreover, university going online and not being able to use the library is something I have found very hard, as I am a book person and I don’t like reading them online. If I could redo lockdown again, I would try to be less harsh on myself for feeling like I had an unproductive day and I would take more time to feel like I deserved to relax too. I feel quite lucky that I am the very few lucky ones where lockdown has not affected my life dramatically. Despite all this, I have enjoyed spending extra time with my wife, which will soon be over when she goes back to work to teach the next generation. Although, one thing for sure is that none of us will forget 2020.

Ruth Spencer-Lewis, 2020

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