Britain has been in lockdown since March 23rd 2020 and I decided that I would document the last few months I have living in Newcastle with my Instax camera in hand. Most students decided to return home for the entirety of lockdown under Newcastle University’s guidance which is completely understandable. However, I chose to stay in my student home in Newcastle as I wanted to make the most of living in Jesmond for just a few more months. My room at university is triple the size of my room at home and I was determined to crack on with my third-year assignments surrounded by my uni notes which completely covered my bedroom wall up until a few weeks ago. Now that lockdown is easing, and we are slowly returning to ‘normal’ life I thought I’d look back on the highs and lows of lockdown.
The impact on my third year
I remember the feeling of receiving an email from Newcastle University early on in lockdown announcing that my graduation would no longer be taking place in the summer. At the time, like every third-year student in the country, I was completely gutted. I really wanted a summer graduation as I’d seen so many friends have one the previous year. Now I’ve come to terms with the idea and understand that it is completely necessary to keep everyone safe. It is sad that I never got to attend my final English ball or have a group dissertation photo in front of the uni arches. Nevertheless, the university has confirmed that we will get a physical graduation ceremony in the future so I will be able to have that experience after all.
Being stuck inside & not having a garden
Unfortunately, my university house does not have a garden at all which is the case for most uni accommodations. The outside space is only accessible to our neighbour which has been tough to deal with for the last few months as we’ve been forced to stay inside most of the day. Daily walks to Jesmond Dene kept me sane during the height of lockdown but walking to Pets Corner everyday did become tedious. During the hotter weeks it was hard being stuck inside for large periods of the day, however when I can travel more freely, I can’t wait to sit on the beach at Tynemouth for a full day in the sunshine.
Working for all of April
For me, April was a month of working constantly on university assignments. It was tough as I barely had any breaks from it. I am an early riser too, so I was waking up at 7:00 a.m. every day working. I became better at taking breaks over the month and forcing myself to use a timer so that I’d do an hour of work followed by a 15-minute break in-between. My first assignment was a 2500-word literature essay which was a struggle. Not having access to library books which I needed and struggling to get in contact with my lecturer was really stressful. Yet, in the end it all got done. Over the entire month I managed to finish over 15,000 words which I’m incredibly proud of now, so in the long term it was worth the stress and early mornings.
The Easter weekend
Being in lockdown for Easter was an incredibly weird experience as I usually spend it with the Catholic side of my family in Leicester. Therefore, it was a completely different experience being in Newcastle stuck inside for the majority of the day. We made it bearable by cooking pancakes, decorating the flat and eating multiple Easter eggs. Now I look back on our Easter brunch as one of my favourite memories from lockdown.
Finishing my degree
I have never felt so relieved than when I sent in my final piece of undergraduate work. It had been a long slog through April and the start of May to get it all finished for the same day, so I was relieved to hand in my last piece of work. Staying in Newcastle for lockdown also meant that I could have my photo in front of the arches which has been something that I’ve looked forward to since starting Newcastle Uni. We celebrated with cheap prosecco and a takeaway which was the perfect end to my BA.
Puzzles, boardgames and baking
These three things have kept me sane over the last few months of lockdown. I have not completed a puzzle since I was 10, yet now I can’t stop buying them. It’s a nice break from binging Ru Paul’s Drag Race or Queer Eye on Netflix and it was a life saver whilst battling the boredom of lockdown. Similarly, I rarely play boardgames. My family were never big on boardgames. Nevertheless, I remain incredibly competitive. I’m sure that Steven and Dom can confirm that I do not enjoy losing at Monopoly. Baking has been difficult considering I don’t own any working weighing scales, yet we’ve still managed to bake some amazing gooey cookies & A LOT of pancakes.
Now lockdown is easing, and life is beginning to change I can look back on the height of lockdown with hindsight and realise that the good massively outweighed the bad. Missing out on seeing uni friends and my family back home for months has been tough, but I can’t wait for a bit of normality to return. These last few months have been eventful & I’m thankful that I’ve been able to document it all to look back on in years to come.