In my own bubble
by Kaylene Baron
What makes the university experience more valuable is time spent with classmates and other students outside the lecture theatre. Due to COVID-19, that was minimal as all our lectures were online. With only a select few that were in person. Whenever we have a contact lecture or contact meeting, we have to wear masks. Needless to say, it is very uncomfortable for me. The reason is, if I do not know the people, then it leaves a very unsettling feeling inside me.
This year has just been eating, sleeping, work repeat with time for nothing else in-between. Even when we started with lab work, it was still very isolating as we are all trying to avoid contact with people.
For me, I am extra dependent on my peers for emotional support as I am a first-generation student. Meaning that I am the first person in my family to attend university, much less to obtain a postgraduate degree. Hence why getting emotional support, encouragement and motivation were very challenging. Yes, there is social media but in-person interactions for me at least, are much better. The ever-changing lockdown levels also aggravated it as it affects how much time I have in the lab, and how quickly I need to commute home when necessary. Nonetheless, even if it was virtual for the most part, I know that all my classmates and friends were supporting me in spirit