Oxford in Covid
It's been really really hard. You can put a brave face no and say that everyone's really pulled together and you've learnt to enjoy the little things in life, but the truth is that it's been really difficult and lonely.
Working almost entirely online has meant I've had actually quite limited interaction with people and I haven't been able to go anywhere. It's been home, and college for meals, with the occasional sacred trip to the Rad Cam to take books out. I'm honestly sick of looking at a screen all the time and sitting in the same spot for hours on end. There is nothing better than scurrying through the halls of a unfamiliar college on your way to a tutorial, marvelling at the beauty. There is nothing more enjoyable than finding a good new library spot that you can hunker down in for a few hours. And there is no nicer feeling than taking a few friends or even going alone to do something completely unrelated to work like see a film or try a new cafe. This term there has been none of that.
The university did of course work tirelessly to make it the best and safest experience possible and they must be credited. That doesn't however mean it was generally brilliant.
I think I have been quite lucky in some ways; living out with my friends in a house and having that element of freedom which I've greatly enjoyed. Nonetheless, the routine of people and place did quite quickly take the shine off things.
I found that with such limited options academically and socially my mental health certainly suffered and I began to feel quite lonely and isolated. All that resilience I had built up in previous terms; learning to explore and be comfortable with myself and expand my network seemed almost a waste of time as everything began to shrink back again.
That isn't to say that there weren't any highlights at all. I went on many a beautiful stroll around sunset and captured some stunning shots. I enjoyed my work and I did appreciate better people I had neglected last year.
I'm still a bit miffed though. I really feel like I've missed out on things; meeting people in the flesh and exploring more. Maybe it's a sort of paranoia but I think university is so short and I don't want to miss anything because I will never be this free to explore myself in my life again and I fear I'll miss something out.
Because of all this, myself and a friend have created essentially, a bucket list of all the things we want to do in Oxford before we leave which I'll be publishing very soon in case anyone wants any ideas. Additionally I plan to make more plans and to-do lists to organise myself so I feel in control of my time here in Oxford. I think that is what COVID has taken away; peoples' feeling of control over their own lives and so it's absolutely necessary to take back that control in any form you wish. That's what I'm planning on doing, we'll have to wait and see how successful it will be!