For this blog post I asked some of our volunteer student bloggers to describe their experience of lockdown. Each of our students are living in different locations – Cranfield University campus, Cranfield Village and London – so I thought it would be an interesting comparison.

On Campus (written by Krithika Menon who is currently studying our Strategic Marketing MSc)

How it feels to be in lockdown on Campus, in the Village and in London…

Krithika Menon

Covid-19, the unprecedented medical emergency that has dawned upon the world, has challenged people and processes alike. The pandemic hit us like a storm and the world around us changed overnight. At Cranfield, assignments were postponed, classes and meetings began to be scheduled remotely and annual gatherings were cancelled as students packed their bags to leave to their home countries. It is a spring we were not prepared for.

Amidst this chaos, confusion and uncertainty, the staff and faculties at Cranfield University have made tremendous efforts to make sure that students feel safe in and around campus. I live in the “Shared House” accommodation on campus along with four other housemates who are unable to leave campus due to travel bans in different countries. In such difficult times, living away from your loved ones may be worrisome for most.

Living on the university campus has been a blessing in disguise for me. Waking up to a beautiful campus with its spring flowers blooming is something I look forward to every morning. The campus is large enough for you to take strolls/runs and stretch (as per lockdown rules, individuals are allowed outdoor exercise once a day) to refresh your day without the fear of having to interact with the general public.

Taking advantage of the lockdown, my neighbours and I, often experiment and build on our culinary skills which had no place in our otherwise busy schedules. The campus also provides take away facilities at Reggies- a student restaurant in one of the halls of residence, for the days you do not want to prepare your own meals. The campus grocery store Budgens, sells almost any product from your staples like bread, eggs and milk, to confectionary, frozen food, snacks and alcohol. The staff at Budgens are extremely receptive. In these times of panic buying, when things tend to go out of stock, they help you with the exact delivery details of the products you need.

The university UNO buses continue to function for students who need to make bigger purchases from Milton Keynes or other nearby stores at the Cranfield Village. In addition to this, the buses are also running free of charge to reduce the burden on students.

With the internet speed being uncompromised in the university premises, students don’t just have flawless communication during online classes and meetings, but also stay connected with friends and family around the world. The University administration additionally sends out regular emails re-assuring students that they are available to help us if we need anything. They keep us updated with the government regulations and helpline numbers for health advice, isolation services, course related or immigration related queries and wellbeing support. This is quite a relief for students and their families who are constantly worried about the health and safety of students on campus.

With all this said, I believe Cranfield University has indeed proved to be a home away from home!

Cranfield Village – (written by Andrea Quercio who is currently studying our Strategic Marketing MSc)

How it feels to be in lockdown on Campus, in the Village and in London…

Andrea Quercio

Not in a million years could have foreseen that my master’s studies at Cranfield School of Management would have panned out the way they have. It all happened so fast, and before I even realised it, the university cancelled all face-to-face lectures and moved to online classes. Many students then fled their accommodation to return home, and with many facilities shut down and the staff now working from home, all it’s left is a ghost-town campus.

As for me, I’m currently living in Cranfield village, and I am not going back to Italy because it is not safe now. I plan to move to London once this pandemic is over. Thankfully, my friends and family are well, and I regularly keep in touch with them via text messages and video chats.

My house is just a five-minute walk from the two grocery stores in the village, which makes food shopping very easy and quick. However, the panic-buying phenomenon has affected those small supermarkets stock availability, leaving most of their shelves empty. For this reason, I tend to order online grocery from Tesco or Sainsbury’s, which have a wider product range, and reduce the risk of infection as I also don’t have to leave the house.

As for university, I am now working on an assignment, and my course will start online classes in mid-April. Needless to say, this new reality is very challenging, and I am still in the midst of getting used to it. The thing I am struggling with most is not being able to see my friends and family. Moving abroad has always been my biggest dream, and I am forever grateful to my family for helping me achieve that. However, I feel a little lonely because most of my uni friends have left, and I wish I could support my family in these difficult times.

How it feels to be in lockdown on Campus, in the Village and in London…
Cranfield Village

Nonetheless, I want to make the most out of my lockdown time by taking it as an opportunity for self-reflection and figuring out my future plans. This crisis has undoubtedly changed the way we perceive and live our life, which is why it is, more than ever, important to stay positive. Hopefully, when it’s all over, we won’t take all that we have for granted; or will we?

Cranfield Village (written by Margot Verhofsté who is currently studying our Management & Corporate Sustainability MSc)

How it feels to be in lockdown on Campus, in the Village and in London…

Margot Verhofsté

The COVID-19 virus has changed our daily lives considerably. All of a sudden, we could not go to campus anymore, lectures were replaced by online sessions, sport classes were cancelled, there were no more parties in the CSA on Friday nights etc. In the beginning, I struggled to adapt to this new reality. Since we had no lectures due to our Easter break, I had no structure in my days and felt kind of lost.

That is why I decided to create a “Quarantine to-do-list”. I wrote down all the chores I had been postponing, made a list of books I want to read and movies or series I want to watch, found some interesting courses on LinkedIn Learning, made a list of recipes I want to try out, collected some fun at-home workouts etc. This has helped me a lot in finding purpose in these uncertain times and keeps me sane. Moreover, it taught me to enjoy the little moments in life. Last week, I read a book in our garden in the sun, which is something I have not done in ages, and I really enjoyed it. Doing groceries or keeping in touch with family is definitely challenging in times of Coronavirus, but we have to get through this crisis. The best way to do this is to focus on the positive consequences of self-isolation, even if it is something as small as having time for long-forgotten hobbies.

How it feels to be in lockdown on Campus, in the Village and in London…
Cranfield Village

London (written by Abena Asante who is currently studying our Management & Corporate Sustainability MSc)

How it feels to be in lockdown on Campus, in the Village and in London…

Abena Asante

It’s finally spring and I am stuck indoors, but I would rather stay indoors and stay safe. I moved to London to be with family because they keep me sane and happy during difficult times. Classes are on hold till April 13, so I am yet to experience online teaching, however, I have an individual assignment due April 20 so have decided to give myself five days to get it done by answering a question daily.

We have just enough groceries but whenever we need anything from the shop my uncle is the only one allowed to run errands for the house since he still goes to work 😊. Currently we haven’t had any challenges with buying groceries. My family has a dynamic palate, thus, we try out items we would not normally purchase on our weekly shop. At least, covid-19 has made us adventurous.

How it feels to be in lockdown on Campus, in the Village and in London…
London

The rest of us take our daily exercises either in the garden by jogging or playing a sport. For a prolonged time of fresh air and to get out of the house, I take walks down the street. When we want to get very sweaty, we have family dance-offs using WII Just Dance. I find myself video calling friends who live alone, and family in Ghana more often to check up on them.

One thing is for sure, I am super grateful for technology and apps that make video calling possible. Stay home, stay safe and sending virtual hugs your way.

Wixams then London (written by Timeyin Dabor who is currently studying our Management and Entrepreneurship MSc)

How it feels to be in lockdown on Campus, in the Village and in London…

Timeyin Dabor

Who would’ve thought the world could stop so abruptly, no warnings, no heads up. Not you, right? Yeah me neither. I still wake up every morning expecting this to just be a crazy dream, but it seems this is now our new reality until God knows when.

We just have to find the necessary ways to adapt to it. It all happened so fast, in the space of 1 week from cancelling our last class for the semester, to cancelling our strategic management exam to issuing a travel ban in my home country Nigeria, to locking down the UK, and then to them cancelling my flight to Nigeria. I was a bit overwhelmed that week as I was also due to move out of my accommodation in Wixams, Bedfordshire and move in with my aunt in Enfield, London.

Wixams was pretty, calm and peaceful, I finally got to go for a walk around our lake and surrounding environment as I never had the time when school was in session (only ever walked to the bus stop lol). I got to feed the ducks and the swans during my walk, then made my way to our local Budgens to stock up for the remaining days I was going to be in my accommodation. Pasta, toilet paper, and eggs have been scarce commodities, you’ll be very lucky to find.

My course director, Oksana conducted a test trial of zoom with some of my course mates and me, we also created a COVID-19 support group chat which we share activities during our days of social distancing, and also assist our course mates that are still in the UK.

My move to London was a pretty smooth transition as it is the place I call home in the UK. I called a cab, and it took us about 55 minutes to get to my house.

Since arriving in London, I had a Family Business Management group assignment to submit on Friday, which has kept me busy and distracted. The only time I stepped out was today to go to the hospital for a prescription. Going outside, London is quite a bit busier than I expected but nothing too extreme.

I was initially devastated about not being able to go back to my country to see my family, but I quickly realised it was for the best. I have been keeping in touch with everyone back home and some of the amazing people I met in Cranfield, and also had time to catch up with my friends from high school on a Zoom video call. It has been quite a humbling experience, a lot to take in but I believe if we give each other mental support, as this pandemic also has an effect to the mental health, we will get through it.

I hope you found that an interesting read and it gave you some insight into our students’ current experience in each living setting. I believe people are all adapting remarkably well under very strange and unprecedented circumstances, but I hope that it teaches us all new skills we can take forward to life once this pandemic is over. Stay safe everyone.

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