Making the Most of Student Life in a Post-Lockdown World
NOTE: This is an external article from an external author with no affiliation with the Students' Union. To contact the author you can email Chloe Walker at: email@example.com.
Whether you’re a first-year or returning student, your student life should be filled with fun and excitement as you discover new experiences and friends. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, it feels like there’s a lot of uncertainty right now when it comes to university life. Wondering how you can fully experience student life while wearing masks and social distancing?
Well, fear not - there are still tons of ways you can make the most of your life at uni, even if we’re coming out of the first wave of a pandemic. So, whether you’re joining us this year or you’re a returning student, you shouldn’t let this ‘new normal’ dampen your spirits.
Here are some tips...
1. Find clever ways to make new friends
The madness and mayhem of Welcome fairs and fun events might be cancelled this year, but that doesn’t mean you need to worry about making new friends.
Most universities have friendly and active Facebook groups with subgroups for different subjects and year groups that don’t just chat online, but also organise socially distanced events that you can still enjoy, despite the social distancing restrictions.
Don’t forget to stay in touch with friends from home, especially during the first few weeks that you’re back at uni too.
“Staying in contact with our friends and loved ones has never been more important, and luckily (internet, what would we do without you?) there are so many ways to do this,” say UK student utilities experts, Glide, “Houseparty, Zoom and even good ol’ WhatsApp are great ways to socialise”
Although it’s never going to be the same as meeting face-to-face, you can still hang on together for Zoom pizza nights, coffee meet ups, and so on.
Check your university website for more info on groups and other ways you can get involved.
2. Take care of your mental health
University life post-lockdown is going to be very different to what you expected and what generations before you experienced. When you combine this with the fact that we’re living with so many restrictions and we’re unsure of what will happen in the future, student life may be more stressful.
That’s why it’s essential that you take a proactive approach to your mental health so you can keep life running as normal as possible, avoid feeling isolated and achieve the best you can at university.
Great ways to do this include:
- Sticking to a daily routine
- Listening to uplifting music
- Exercising at home
- Staying in touch with friends
- Eating well
3. Embrace the ‘bubble’ system
Many students over the years have discovered that living in a shared house will bring instant friendships and opportunities to hang out together. So what better way to be sociable yet safe by hanging out with your housemates and getting to know each other better?
Many universities have actually introduced a formal ‘bubble’ system of this type which allows small groups of 3-10 households to live and study together while reducing the risks of contracting the virus.
Of course, this will limit your social experience compared to what you could have expected pre-virus, but it will allow you to have fun and get to know each other face to face without needing to worry about masks.
4. Enjoy a socially distanced social life
Even though there are many rules about social distancing now, you can still enjoy a vibrant social life. The university bars may have closed, but many in the outside world have reopened with guidelines in place, so why not make the most of it?
If you’re returning to uni in August, you could also take advantage of the government Eat Out to Help Out scheme which offers discounts for bars and cafes to help bring customers back. Go and support your local businesses, follow the guidelines to keep everyone safe and enjoy yourself.
Remember that you don’t have to limit yourself to bars and cafes when there are so many other ways to have.
Why not head out into nature, go to the park, head for a game of tennis or other low-contact sport and so on instead?
Just make sure you wear a mask, maintain social distancing rules, wash hands often, use sanitizer gel and don’t get too drunk- you’ll have an awesome time.
5. Use tech to get involved
Traditionally, students have joined all kinds of clubs and extracurricular organisations to help them learn new skills, boost their CVs and meet new friends.
Doing this in a post-lockdown world might seem almost impossible but it doesn’t need to be. Some universities moved their clubs online before the coronavirus struck and continue to be thriving places you can get tons of benefits from.
Contact your university to find out what they have on offer and if your choices are limited, why not start your own? You’ll be showing extra initiative that your future employers are sure to love, you’ll be having fun and you might even make money doing it.
Let’s be honest- uni life isn’t going to be anything like it has been before. But by thinking out of the box, finding new ways to socialise safely and getting involved in the online student activities, you can make the best of it.
Besides, who knows? Maybe everything will get back to normal sooner than we think.