It was almost 8 months ago now since I took that brave step onto the plane. COVID-19 would not be declared a pandemic for a while yet, so the only nerves around were if I was going to ‘fit in’ or enjoy myself. I had put a lot of work into getting this far that had exhausted me mentally and physically, so a lot of expectation obviously built in regards to wanting a fabulous lifetime experience. The thought of this filled me with excitement and nerves all at the same time for my months studying abroad in Sweden. I was there much longer than planned but I have been back in the UK for almost a week now and I wanted to update you with what is happening for me.
I am now self-isolating in my university accommodation because of travellers quarantine. It has been a strange week from having a fantastic summer filled with freedom in Sweden to being ‘locked inside’ for two weeks. I suppose it is not ideal but I guess that is the price I paid for not returning before stricter travel rules were applied. To be even more honest though and what may appear strange to many is, that I am pretty much fine with this isolation period.
YES! You must think I am extremely peculiar. But after such a busy and tiring yet enjoyable summer, even the best of us need a little time to recharge. This is just natural and healthy. I was flying from Denmark but of course, the majority of my time was spent in Sweden so that is the reason why I have to isolate. I had the most wonderful and unforgettable experience, but, now it is time to get back to and readjust to my life back home in England.
As you probably know already, I was living in Sweden to study abroad since I am a university student. I believe this is generally something that is offered in the second year of your studies, so now I have a busy third and final year ahead of me. I do not think studying in the middle of a pandemic is ideal. I am worried about readjusting to a greater workload and probably a lot more face-to-face interaction than I had in the spring. We are in a period of uncertainty and it seems like I continue to face struggles, but I am determined to persevere in the face of adversity and finish my degree.
Perhaps one of the most universally known phrases of 2020 is ‘social distancing’. We all know what it is, but how many of us can truly say we are abiding by it? Should we be doing more?
To me, it seems like this is the main thing that many countries are focusing on. People think controlling the virus is as simple as washing your hands and keeping 1-2 metres away from each other. They also must think that wearing a mask (a cloth one at that) is going to save them or act as a replacement for social distancing. People need to wake up and realise that they must do all of these things to give them the best chance at avoiding catching this deadly disease, or risk passing it on. It is such simple things we could do, but are choosing not to do.
This makes me begin to question the common sense of many people… Do they not like being told what to do? It is not difficult to see that people are obsessed with doing what is ‘normal’ or at least what everyone else is doing. For instance, I have noticed that everyone is distancing in a queue, or if one or two are not, then everyone else gives up with the distancing. When did we become such sheep? Why can we not decide for ourselves what we will do, and stick with it?
To me, there seems to be a mentality going around like ‘well if they can’t then why should I?’ and this is disastrous. I refuse to bow down to this pressure and will go above and beyond to keep myself safe. For instance… I have lost count the number of times I have changed my path whilst walking the streets. I might as well be walking in zig-zags at times. It is painfully exhausting because people may recognise social distancing, but suddenly do not think it applies when they walk past you. Many will be selfish and take up the whole path with their group or family, which is even worse on narrow paths.
I think it is safe to say that not only are people more concerned about doing what is ‘normal’ but also what is convenient for them. This goes for walking on paths and moving around in tight spaces. The list goes on though… People sitting next to strangers on buses and the strangers letting it happen is perhaps the craziest thing I have seen recently. People will happily pack onto buses just because it is convenient for them – for instance so they have their fun Saturday night at the beach. It is frustrating the lack of sacrifices people have made in this pandemic. But even more frustrating when others protest how many sacrifices they’ve made or how their summer has been ruined, when in reality I would say there are very few of us who have given up enough to handle this pandemic. This virus shows and even confirms to me how selfish many people are, and how even at the most difficult of times people fail to bond together.