Working from home and how to keep positive (a student perspective)

We know completing your studies at home might be difficult and will take some getting used to. This is a difficult transition and you may have a lot of worries and concerns. We just want you to know that we are here to support you every step of the way so that you achieve the best you can. If you feel stressed, anxious, worried or isolated, there is lots of support available to you, so make sure you speak to someone. It’s really important that if you are struggling, you reach out and let someone know.

To make sure that we are giving you the support you need, we have asked BA (Hons) English Language and Communication student Alice Okunowo about her experience working from home and how she is finding the move to online learning:

How are you coping with self-isolation/working from home?

For reading week, I was just been doing a couple assignments back to back and submitting them whilst I’ve been at home so I was rather busy. Right now, however, I’ll be brutally honest. I haven’t created a timetable or anything like that, I work when I’m feeling productive and then check the calendar as to when the due date for the coursework is. I need to be a bit more regimented if I want to get any of my work done, and to the best standard.

How are you finding online learning?

I’ll be frank. The online learning is taking some getting used to and quite the adjustment because our university is one where you are usually face-to-face with your peers and lecturers, to guide you and help you with anything academically and personally. Now, all of a sudden, that’s taken away from you and now everything is online (your lectures, your workshops etc). It can be very isolating and physically draining. But we just need to try to focus on things that can be controlled in this moment right now. We will get through this.

Are you getting all the support you need? If not, what do you need support with and how can we help you?

I have a mental health adviser at the university that I am in regular contact with at Student Wellbeing who is very kind and helpful. He is always there to listen to any problems that I may have and give me advice on what it is that I can do to make myself feel and do better in terms of my academics as well as my mental health and my wellbeing as a student here at Herts. I’m very grateful for the service that they provide. I appreciate it.

What sorts of things are you doing in your spare time?

In terms of spare time, I have written only one poem whilst this whole situation has been going on. It’s not really much, I wrote it in the Notes app of my iPhone. I’ve been on social media, mostly Twitter and I watch the news whenever I can during the day. Just the other day I think, it was National Poetry Day, and so a lot of people were posting poetry and prose  (their own and sharing other people’s works) whilst they were in quarantine and taking time to self isolate. It was very nice to read in a time like this. Brought me some comfort.

Poetry writing in times like this can be very uplifting and positive and make you smile and laugh. There’s a book that I bought earlier this year that focuses on mental health and wellbeing (more specifically anxiety, depression and seeking treatment) but from their own personal life experiences: it’s called ‘Open: How asking for help can save your life’ by Frankie Bridge. It’s a really helpful book as it goes in depth into the mental health issues of a human being but shows how you can come out on the other side in a much more positive mindset.

Do you have any advice for other students who might be struggling?

In terms of mental health and wellbeing: there is light at the end of the tunnel and you should always seek help and speak to someone about how you are feeling and be pro-active in wanting to better yourself - baby steps.

In terms of this current situation with the coronavirus: please stay safe, self-isolate, wash your hands thoroughly, prioritise self-care and practice mindfulness and social distancing. Set a routine and follow it as best as you can so that you can develop and maintain a sense of normality.

Is there anything that is really helping you during this time?

Deep breathing. Lots of deep breathing. And prayer too, because I think the whole world needs it right now.

If you are feeling a similar way to Alice, read this blog about how we can help you. 


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