Sharing sweets via a lacrosse bat out of a window . . . of courseMatilda Head

15 days, 360 hours, 21,600 minutes – a lot could be achieved in that time. You could go to the moon and back twice, climb Mount Kilimanjaro, fly around the world roughly eight times, or if you are a member of my ground floor flat, you could stay in your room and achieve very little.

My lockdown situation was fairly unconventional; when we were given the order to isolate, there had only been one positive case in my staircase of about 45 students, yet the whole staircase was put under strict isolation measures. As you can imagine, we weren’t best pleased, and the first few days of our isolation were spent grumpy and complaining.

“I found that being locked inside for 15 days became a great bonding experience”

Rest assured, we were all eating humble pie when multiple positive tests started popping up a few days later. With positive cases on our floor, the length of our lockdown was extended and morale was at an all-time low. I am very pessimistic and constantly expect the worst case scenario; I started to believe that we could end up in up to a month of lockdown. So, panicking that I wouldn’t go outdoors for the rest of Michaelmas, I called my sister, and received a rather poignant piece of advice: this was a unique situation that would likely never happen again, so we had to make the most of it and create our own fun while shut indoors.

"In a weird turn of events, the highlight of my lockdown was our ‘TikTok weekend’."@tillyh563

I won’t pretend that I suddenly jumped into action planning fun activities; I struggled throughout the 15-day period, but framing it positively is helpful when all you can do in a day is sit glaring at the people walking freely right outside your window. I have a fair few things to thank for getting me through isolation, but the most valuable commodity has to have been tea, of which I must have drunk gallons. As someone who is generally pretty poor at self-care, something as simple as making a warm drink acts as an effective self-soothing mechanism, no matter the issue at hand. It also gave myself and my flatmates an excuse to procrastinate and socialise, as you really can’t turn down an offer of tea, especially when you know it will probably involve an hour-long chat in the corridor where we had moved our coffee tables and chairs.

Fortunately, I was able to be around members of my household that had tested negative, so I didn’t have to struggle with being completely isolated. If I had been stuck in my room, I would have craved even masked chats from meters away. As it was, my flatmates really helped to make my isolation as enjoyable as possible, and I found that being locked inside for 15 days became a great bonding experience!

“As we move forward with the National Lockdown, I can be confidently optimistic that with more tea, exercise, and maybe TikToks . . . it won’t be nearly as bad as I had expected.”

Other coping mechanisms during this period included playing a lot of catch, and even a cricket game, in the corridor (in case someone from College reads this, I promise we were careful and didn’t damage anything). We weren’t allowed to go outside during our isolation, so we were going pretty stir crazy. In an attempt to get a bit of exercise, one of my friends led core sessions each evening. I really don’t have the words to express just how much I hate exercise, but the effect that it would have on my mood was huge. It felt good to know that I’d got moving and done something healthy for my body. In fact, the core sessions have since continued, so I can happily say that I’ve developed a new and useful habit thanks to lockdown.

Not only did exercise help my mood, but my sleep pattern. You’re not moving much when you can’t leave your flat – one of my friends’ iPhone pedometer tracked only 15 steps in a whole day during lockdown – so you don’t end up feeling tired by the time you get into bed, doing some daily exercise definitely helped me in that sense.

In my case, 15 days of confinement led to something I never thought I’d do: making TikToks. In a weird turn of events, the highlight of my lockdown was our ‘TikTok weekend’. In an attempt to make time go faster my friend suggested that we should get all our work done by the weekend. Then, we could have a whole weekend free to harness our slow descent into madness, have some drinks, and make some TikToks. Despite the next-morning embarrassment, setting this goal and having something to look forward to was an extremely good way to pass the time. Plus, I now have a video of myself and two guys re-enacting the Glee ‘Say a Little Prayer’ dance in case I ever need a laugh.


Mountain View

Stuck in a Comfy Cell

As we move forward with the National Lockdown, I can be confidently optimistic that with more tea, exercise, and maybe TikToks – but that depends on alcohol consumption level – it won’t be nearly as bad as I had expected. I’m also thoroughly looking forward to our plans (including a ‘Floor-mal’ and Bridgemas Dinner) and grateful that this odd time has actually resulted in new friends and a cautious enjoyment of exercise.

Whilst I am being optimistic, it’s important to acknowledge that isolation is tough; you might not be climbing a mountain or flying around the world, but getting through lockdown is an achievement. If you are finding it particularly hard, reach out to someone. Even if you’re by yourself, you’re not alone and whether it’s your neighbour, Tutor, or a Welfare Officer, there are plenty of people around to help.