Lois Bishop, a student at Portsmouth College, looks back at the beginning of lockdown, when college closed and explains her daily routine alongside her sister, while their mother – a key worker – is at work. This piece was written before the lockdown began to be eased.
Lockdown is upon us, and there’s nothing we can do.
I can remember the feeling of being told that my college was going to shut. I was sitting in class and I just wanted to cry. Unlike some, I love going to college. I was so upset and not just because I won’t be able to see all my friends. College is supposed to be some of the best years of your life, especially the first year. You feel mature, you no longer get treated like a child, and you get a sudden sense of freedom. You have a lot of work to do, yes, but A-levels are still a year away, you’re meeting new people, making new friends, and three months of that got torn away from me just like that.
The last day of college was horrible. Everyone was trying to be happy but you could sense that everyone was miserable. I felt like as much as I tried to cheer myself up, I couldn’t do it. I wanted the last day to be one to remember, but it just ended up with my friends sitting around a table, talking about how much we don’t want this all to happen. I had two lessons that day, the first one ran as normal but in the second one, my teacher said ‘take these two hours to just chat with your friends and socialise while you still can.’
And then it hit me. I’ll be alone for a very long amount of time. I won’t be able to see all the people I love like friends and family, or even just going to the shops and interacting with other people. One of the worst parts for me was not knowing how long we would be stuck indoors for. How long will I be living my life like this? The amount of board games and puzzles I would play, the amount of times I would go for a walk or a bike ride just for something to do.
Since the first week, I’ve tried sticking to a routine because it apparently helps your mental health. So I get up at 9 each morning, I never eat breakfast so I’m used to that, and I go downstairs. I’ll sit and do my college work from 10am-12:45pm just like I would at college and I’ll take a break halfway through. Around 1pm I’ll find something for lunch and in the evening I go for a bike ride. My mum’s a key worker and so I’m home alone with my sister for 10 hours a day. I’m running out of things to do. I’ve filled a scrapbook, baked endless amounts of brownies and flapjacks, and watched a very long list of films.
I miss normal life. I miss work. And I miss college. It’s horrible being stuck indoors, especially knowing that some of my closest friends live just around the corner and yet it feels like we’re so far away from each other. I hope for everyone that reads this, that you’re all well, and your family is safe. Please stay home so this can all be over as soon as possible.