Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

What lockdown has taught me

My most recent memory of university was three months ago. I was packing my bags to travel home to Essex for Easter. While I was trying to cram as many stripy t-shirts into my suitcase as possible, I watched one of the early government news briefings. The Prime Minister stood at the lectern telling us that many of our loved ones were going to die and at this point, I recognised the serious threat that the coronavirus would have on all of our lives.

Since that day, I have been on the radio every single weekday evening at six o’clock, reacting to the latest news and updating listeners on the tragic death toll, which has now exceeded 42,000 people. Alongside this, I’ve been presenting one live radio show in the studio and one pre-recorded programme for Gateway 97.8 – the radio station I work at in Basildon, Essex. I’ve been presenting another live show on Facebook for the student radio station, RAW 1251AM, each week and contributing regularly to local BBC radio stations around the country. I’ve also written over 20,000 words to complete my second-year assignments for my politics degree. As I’m sure you can tell, it’s been a busy few months.

Lockdown has taught me a lot about resting and having a steady pace of life

Despite my heavy workload, lockdown has taught me a lot about resting and having a steady pace of life day-to-day. In normal times, I spend so much of my life dashing between home and university, as well as visiting cities all over the country for radio work. In the past few months, however, I’ve really learned how to press pause. I’ve been resting more and catching up on all of the sleep I’ve missed out on since Christmas.

Aside from my rest, I set myself a simple rule at the start of lockdown – I decided not to study at the weekends and to try to avoid work as much as possible on Saturdays and Sundays. This has been relatively successful, but I still find myself getting behind the microphone on Saturday afternoons to record my Sunday breakfast show.

I’ve also taken a lot of pride in setting up a bookshelf

During this free time, I’ve spent a lot of time with a book in one hand and a strong coffee in the other. If I remember one thing about my life during lockdown, it’ll be the joy I’ve felt reading nearly twenty books. I’ve also taken a lot of pride in setting up a bookshelf, rather than having hardbacks piling up in various locations around the house. If you’ve seen any of my video live-streams, you would have seen the bookshelf proudly positioned in the background of the shot.

Presenting video live-streams has been an enjoyable addition to my time spent indoors, and I’ve enjoyed hosting discussions relating to Warwick on the Library social media channels. Through this, I’ve met so many remarkable people working on our campus, who are so focused on helping us through our time at university. Speaking to these experts has reassured me that taking the time to rest and relax is just as important as concentrating on coursework deadlines.

I’ll never forget what the pandemic has taught me

I’m often fixed to rolling television news and radio coverage in normal times, but during lockdown I’ve been even closer to the news. Aside from my regular daily updates, which have been running for sixteen weeks now, I’m always on hand to react to breaking news. Early on in this public health crisis, I was working on a piece of coursework when I received the notification that Boris Johnson had coronavirus. I was live on air within minutes, reacting to this breaking news from my bedroom.

So little of the media coverage I usually provide relates to life and death but the last few months have been so different. I’m so conscious that when I read out the death toll every evening, I’m discussing over 40,000 human lives lost. 40,000 sets of families and friends grieving. 40,000 bright minds taken away too early. This crisis is equally as tragic as it is important – probably the most important news story I will ever cover. Down to all of this, lockdown has taught me about the preciousness of health and life. I am so lucky that I am fit and well, and that my family and friends are too.

Of course, I miss normal life, and I really miss seeing friends without having to be two metres apart but right now, we all have to play our part to send this virus packing. Despite the troubles of the coronavirus crisis, I’ll never forget what the pandemic has taught me – the importance of rest, the joy of a good book and the preciousness of health.

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