Adjusting and having to adapt to a new lifestyle with Covid-19 has not been easy, but I have learnt a lot. One word to describe my experience since the start of Covid-19 would be grateful. This period of uncertainty has taught me to be grateful, not only for a healthy life but family and loved ones, which is something we tend to take for granted. I was able to sit down and reflect on my life, and how I could work to focus on the important aspects in my personal life, such as faith. Faith was the key factor that gave me sanity and aided me during uncertain times. Thus, I was able to understand through faith that taking advantage of my free time before I became busy and taking advantage of my health before I became sick was vital. This took me on a journey to rediscover my passion for reading in order to expand my knowledge and benefit from time.
Studying during Covid-19 has neither been something I enjoy or dislike; but I guess every situation has its pros and cons. At the start of semester, I thought online learning was great as it saved me time from travelling into London, as well as saving money. However, as the weeks went by, I noticed learning from home was not as easy and demanded more concentration and focus. For someone who finds a strong level of productivity in having a routine, Covid-19 challenged this as I struggled to find a balance between preparing for seminars and lectures whilst juggling other personal responsibilities all in the same environment. Another challenge I faced in my studies during Covid-19 was completing assignments. I was someone who would attend the library frequently especially when assignments were due as I could have access to books there and then. However, online books have been a hassle as sessions time out quickly which requires you to constantly sign back in which is easy to throw off your concentration. Class discussions have not really been as effective as they would have been in person, whether this was due to technical difficulties or students not wanting to engage.
Despite this, I was able to overcome these challenges by firstly getting myself into a routine whereby I would wake up early and watch my lectures and complete my readings for the day, so I would be prepared for the seminar. This gave me the ability to stay organised and not fall behind in any lectures or seminars, whilst getting other tasks done during the day without distractions. Lastly, when writing up assignments I found noting the sources I needed down and downloading it as a pdf made it much easier to know what I needed, which saved me time from going through multiple tabs that were timed out. Even though, this could be the new norm for us I hope we will soon overcome this difficult time.
Laila Barkat, BA (Hons) International Relations and Development, 2020