You don’t know what you have until it’s gone

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.

“We are living in unprecedented times”.

Something I have heard many times throughout my life. But, if anyone had told me that I would have to spend most of 2020 in quarantine because of an unprecedented pandemic, I would have definitely not believed it. This year alone I have experienced more interruption, disruption, frustration, confusion and uncertainty than in my 20 years of existence combined.

On my return from holiday in mid- January 2020, talks of the Coronavirus’ rapid spread in China and cases in Europe took over the News as well as daily conversations at work, University, and with friends and family. By the end of February it became apparent that there would be major changes in our daily lives, as Covid-19 was already spreading in the UK and Europe. By mid-March changes included not going to work, having University lectures online and seminar classes via Zoom, Skype or Collaborate, and not being able to meet up with friends and family. In short, the country went into lockdown.

Since lockdown, I have gone through a vast amount of different emotions. At times I felt emotional. Turning on the news and seeing the number of lives that were being lost daily, as well as hearing about the lives lost of people you know on a personal level being affected by the virus seemed to become unbearable. Many days, I felt bored and fed up with the restrictions from not being able to do what I would normally do. Often, I would feel motivated to use the time to achieve something positive I have not had the time to do in the past. For example, doing yoga which has helped me to relax and remain focused on the day ahead. I have also spent the time reading books outside of my studies and doing research around my culture. This was fuelled by the death of George Floyd and others and the protest led by the Black Lives Matter Movement in the USA and around the world. Further fuelling my interest was the impact Coronavirus had on the Black Asian Minority Ethic (BAME) community, including front lines staffs. I felt that it was necessary, especially as a person of colour, to know my cultural history and this was a perfect time to do so by reading books, watching films and documentaries relating to my culture.

A proverb I grew up on was “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” and this year definitely proved this to be right. The freedom of just walking into a shop without queuing outside, sitting in a restaurant and eating a meal, meeting up with friends and family, attending class in person and attending weekly church services were no longer the norm. Instead, zooming, facetiming, (virtual everything), keeping a 2-meter distance at all times and trying not to panic every time someone walks close to me, for me has become the new norm. However, despite all this, being in lockdown has taught me not to take anything for granted.

By: Decodie Nicola Fisher BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations

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