The Communications team is always keen to host work placement students whenever possible. The Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped us, so this month we have welcomed our first ‘virtual’ work placement student! Laura Mehers is a postgraduate student at JMLU studying for a masters in Journalism.
She is working – remotely – with the comms and marketing team every Monday and Tuesday. Here she tells us how her student life has changed since lockdown.
“Anyone comparing their life a year ago to what it looks like now, would agree that a lot has changed for us all. For me, my weekly schedule is almost unrecognisable. One thing has remained constant: being a student and being committed to those responsibilities, whilst the world has upturned around me.
Before the pandemic, my life was a balancing act. I was juggling university, two jobs, a placement, swimming most days and my social life with the friends who I also lived with. It was busy and sometimes I wished everything would slow down, but I loved it. Now everything is much quieter and the few things that remain are conducted from within the same four-bedroom-walls every day.
As a student, lockdown means being expected to hand in work of a high quality without any of the resources we once had. Libraries are closed, university equipment is out of reach and lecturers exist via email only. But the biggest loss is balance. I used to end a full, stressful day hanging out with my friends in our living room, or the pub. Now I haven’t seen some of them in almost a year.
The best thing I have done for my wellbeing has been to know when to switch off. At the start of the pandemic I was allowing myself to be bombarded with Covid-19 news, scary statistics and sad social media posts about what we used to have. Everything became BC (Before Covid) and AC (After Covid) in my head.
Since I started limiting how much I read every day about the numbers and concerns, I’ve felt happier and more focused. It is important to stay alert and aware of new information but getting lost in a social media spiral is no good for anyone. And now we have positive vaccine news and every day gets closer to change, it is easier to dip into the news without feeling overwhelmed and wanting to go back to bed.
I do still find it difficult to adjust to a life in lockdown where every day feels the same. But I think university students already had a taste of what isolation can be like. Students are often overlooked or assumed to be having a ball (and some of us do) but mental health struggles and solitude are actually fairly common among the student population. Long days of heavy assignments and reading, spent in small cell-sized bedrooms, can take a toll on even the most upbeat of people.
It’s been a particularly rough year for students. Many have moved back in with parents, are miles away from friends and facing the disheartening prospect of job-searching during a global pandemic. I feel that the concern shown for students over the last 6 months has been a positive step towards looking out for the young people around us, even if you yourself are a young person.
It can be quite tough sometimes to be expected to be the best version of yourself and work hard whilst we’re in the middle of a pandemic. I can be hard on myself at times and then I remember: these are unprecedented times! I think we could all learn to be a bit easier on ourselves at a time like this when simply getting on and staying optimistic is more than enough.
Laura Mehers is currently studying for an MA Journalism at Liverpool John Moores University. She is a freelancer writer with two-years experience working in a marketing environment. She is currently working with Liverpool City Council’s Communications team two days a week to gain additional experience in public sector communications.