It seems COVID always strikes around the start of semester, and we’re getting used to the uncertainty of rising and falling of alert levels. One good way to deal with this, I’ve found, is to look forward to the best aspects of life in lockdown just as much as life at level 1.

I moved into Carlaw Student Village for my second year of a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts conjoint, majoring in English and politics, and before lockdown, was busy making preparations for in-person classes, starting on Monday. All summer long, I watched friends overseas continue their classes online and felt very lucky to be able to sort out my enrolment at the Law Student Centre or the Arts Student Centre, to go to UBIQ to buy my books. And then when the law orientation went online, all I could think of was how lucky I’d be to walk into a lecture theater on Monday, pull my books out, and start listening.

But not all is lost! There are a few things to remember to help make this lockdown a little bit more pleasant.

1 Remember the reasons for this lockdown (it’s temporary)

Though certainly inconvenient, it’s important to remember that this is temporary, just like everything else. I try to keep in mind that COVID is a very real threat and that lockdown isn’t announced for the sole inconvenience of university students. If we all abide by it, we will soon be able to enjoy the privileges of a normal life. Just think of this as a delay ensuring everybody’s safety.

2 We are only missing introductory content

Though I can’t speak for all the degrees and all the year levels, I know that for the most part, the first week of lectures is introductory content. The basics. This time of the semester usually isn’t too intense, so all you have to do is watch your lectures and keep up with your readings. Lockdown can be stressful and tiring, but having it during a less demanding time certainly helps.

On the bright side…

1 Less time commuting.

This is definitely an advantage. Uni can get very full-on and absorb all your time, if you don’t manage it right. If you plan your day, use this extra time for your own activities or to get ahead in readings. Make the most of this!

  • Plan how you will study during the rest of the semester (trust me, once week 2 comes around, you’ll find you won’t want to use your spare time planning study methods) and lay out all the important dates, how you’ll revise, and allocate times for certain subjects. Remember that each paper demands 10 hours a week of work. For law, one hour of lectures is equal to 3 hours of at-home study if you really want to succeed.
  • Get ahead in your readings. The walk from UniHall, O’Rorke, or Waiparuru is about 10 minutes to campus. From Carlaw, it’s about twenty minutes. Add the going and return time and, that’s a solid chunk you could be using to get ahead in some readings and make life a little easier for future you.
  • Or use that same time for mindful rest. Maybe instead of aimlessly scrolling through your phone, set twenty/forty minutes (or however long it takes to commute, if you live at home) and do something you actually enjoy. Mindfulness definitely helps me feel refreshed.

2 If you live in first-year halls, enjoy this time to bond with your new floor!

I know many floors got very close over lockdown last year. Once your floor is your bubble, you get to spend much more time with other people you may not have seen so much at mealtimes or during O-Week. Make the most of this! Good friendships are key to any first-year experience, and this will definitely strengthen a few.

These are difficult and uncertain times, but remember there is a whole student body in the same situation as you. We are all going through the ups and downs of a degree and of a pandemic, but connecting with others and keeping the plus sides in mind definitely helps.