22 May 2020

Indy Ghuman: Student life in lockdown

“Looking back at how this pandemic crept up on us I think it’s fair to say that things feel surreal. One moment I was catching up with friends over brunch and the next thing I know, two months of isolation have passed in a dissociative blur. It’s now the third and final term of first year and it’s proving a challenge to adjust to exam mode. I’ve been sleeping and studying in the same room for what seems like eternity – time around me seems to have come to a standstill, but deadlines are fast approaching and I’m determined to keep a positive mind-set.

“As I’m sure all students have experienced, COVID-19 has completely transformed the way I study. Fortunately, at Aston, the teaching staff have done their absolute best to give us clear support and guidance. Since practical assessments were cancelled it was a relief to see that all teaching and assessments were modified. We received module-specific adjustments outlining how changes were going to be implemented providing a sense of relief amongst the uncertainty. I wanted to highlight the importance of keeping contact with your personal tutors or module leads – they are there to support you both academically and personally – even if it’s a short message to keep them updated. It can be easy to fall into a bubble of solitude.

“The lockdown period has undoubtedly had an impact on everyone’s mental wellbeing. Social media certainly has been filling up my lockdown time. It’s easy to feel like you aren’t doing enough and to compare yourself to others. I must admit my sleep pattern has been chaotic too, but I try and remember there is no right or wrong way to cope with what’s happening. 

“For those of you who are succeeding in keeping productive and motivated throughout these testing times, keep at it! There are some fantastic study resources the College offers which I’ve been using to supplement my studies in lieu of lectures. I have also forgotten how much I loved cycling - something that I haven’t done in years and hopefully something I will take forward. With some of the most recent lockdown measures being relaxed there is a glimmer of hope that things may start to return to some degree of normality.

“Whilst this is not how I anticipated my first year at university to go, I am feeling wholly lucky that those closest to me remain safe and healthy, and that I am part of a profession that I have seen come together to support one another in a time of great need.”

Indy Ghuman is an optometry student at Aston University.

Related further reading

For the very last issue of Optometry in Practice, Professor Jonathan Jackson MCOptom reflects on the past two decades of the journal and its contribution to our learning.

This paper describes how viruses infect, reproduce and damage cells. Knowing this process is critical for understanding how to treat ocular viral infections.