Next up in this new series of blogs from Royal Holloway students, is Politics and International Relations Student Chanpreet, who shares her experience with online studying, new hobbies she's taken on (delicious paella pic spoiler), and her brand new writing blog on Instagram!
Second Year Politics and International Relations Student
My name is Chanpreet and I am a second-year student studying Politics and International Relations, and I think it is safe to say that this year is wildly different from the last!
First of all, I personally have noticed a difference in the workload from first to second year, which means this year I have developed a more structured week for myself to ensure I get everything I need to do, done, as well as making time to relax. But of course, the biggest change has come from the thing we are all sick of hearing about by now… Covid-19! Hybrid learning is something I never imagined I would be doing, and I’m not sure that I even remember what it feels like to sit shoulder to shoulder with my course mates in a lecture hall anymore!
It is so easy to feel isolated when learning is delivered in this way, especially if you have opted for complete online learning, but it is so important to remember that we are still part of a greater community and to always reach out to friends or staff members if you ever feel you need to!
For my course, I have been attending seminars in person, and lectures have all been online. It has been great to still be able to go to campus, get some fresh air and see some friendly faces (albeit at a social distance and with a mask covering half of our faces!).
At the beginning of each day, I have been writing a realistic to-do list made up of compulsory activities (such as my lectures and seminars) but also other work that needs to be completed. This list is not and does not need to be extensive, as in these crazy times you need to allow yourself to unwind and spend time with flatmates, or whoever you live with, as it is very easy for mental health to decline with the restrictions that are currently in place.
Make time for yourself and do things that you like to do! Whether that is a walk around campus in the fresh air, or binge-watching your favourite Netflix show; you have to be gentle with yourself, especially right now.
I personally have been trying to stay positive by having small things to look forward to, for example, trying a new recipe (the paella you see below tasted AMAZING, by the way) or spending time with flatmates having a game night, or watching a show together. It really is the small things that are important in life, especially at the moment with such strict restrictions in place.
To keep myself busy during the first lockdown, I decided to start a blog, @ckmwrites, on Instagram that covers a range of social issues, and every couple of days I look for resources on Instagram that fit the topics I write about and share my thoughts on them on my story. I also use this as an outlet, as it is a platform I can use to write about my opinions on anything I want, be it current or historical, meaning I make time to find out about things that really interest me outside of my course.
As I am writing this, we are still in a lockdown, so face to face non-essential activities on campus (such as societies) have been suspended. But, if restrictions permit, I recommend getting involved in a society or a new sport to remind yourself of the community around us! I had the joy of being a member of RHUL Ballroom and Latin society last year, and I had the best time being able to continue my hobby alongside my university studies.
Although this year there will be no competitions, it is still amazing to be able to attend lessons and catch up with other society members and see how they all are, so definitely have a look and see if there is a society you are interested in joining, with as many as we have at RHUL, you are sure to find one that interests you.
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