‘I have my own space and freedom’: Lincoln students on why they are staying in the city

Students are now allowed to return to campus for personal reasons

England descended into its third national lockdown by Boris Johnson on January 4 at 8 pm. As routine, we were all told to “stay at home, protect the NHS, and save lives”, and just like that, we were back in March 2020. Many university students had to make the choice of where in the country they were going to stay put.

The majority of university courses have been out online, however, students who study medicine, education, and other practical subjects are allowed to return to face-to-face teaching.

A Lincoln Tab poll on Instagram asked students whether they would be staying at home or returning to uni, in light of the lockdown announcement. 62 per cent of those who voted, voted for returning to their city of education. These could be for an array of options from the use of the library to living in their rented accommodation they are paying for.

The University of Lincoln has since advised students to return to the city if they do not have an adequate place to study at their home addresses among personal reasons. However, before this information became available, students had to make a choice.

The Lincoln Tab spoke to students on their decision to stay in Lincoln for lockdown:

‘I feel scammed’

Tia North, a third year Journalism student at the University of Lincoln said: “My mum is high risk so will need to be shielding now and, although I’m such a home bird, my boyfriend is a key worker and would be staying in Lincoln by himself if I went back home. I’d feel awful leaving him here for the full lockdown alone and I’d miss him too much.”

Her contract for her accommodation also left her in another position of paying rent for a house she isn’t living in. But in terms of her studies, she feels differently.

“It’s our last year of a journalism degree and we can’t go out and interview people, we can’t film in places we’d usually film, the WiFi in my student house is appalling. I don’t think there is any real consideration from the government – it’s a joke and dare I say I feel scammed.”

‘I didn’t want to risk taking the virus back home to my parents’

For Callum Cathrine, multiple factors went into choosing to stay in Lincoln, even if his second year of Computer Science will only continue online.

He said: “Firstly, I find it easier to work when I’m accommodated here. Having people around me who understand the work that needs doing is more functional than parents nagging, housework, pets, siblings, etc.

“Secondly, I opted into staying to keep my parents and family safe. I’m paying for my accommodation, several hundred pounds would go to waste if I wasn’t living here and as a student, money isn’t exactly flowing in.

“Testing may now be in place but it wasn’t and I didn’t want to risk taking the virus back home to my parents, who both are keyworkers.”

‘Staying at home puts me in a tough place in getting my work done’

Cameron Berg, a Journalism student at the University of Lincoln said: “Staying at home puts too much pressure on my family and puts me in a tough place in getting away from there and getting my work done.”

“Even though my home life isn’t ideal I still love to live there and they often need my support.”

‘Going home just really isn’t possible’

Rebecca, a second year student told The Lincoln Tab: “I’d love to be at home and with people but it just physically isn’t a plausible option”

“I don’t do well at home. I don’t get along with being in people’s space constantly and going home just really isn’t possible.  I am on my own and getting little to no support from anyone which is difficult.”

‘I’m ready to have a place of my own and start my adult life’

Tilly Bean, a third year Journalism student said: “I knew that I wouldn’t have been able to do my work in my childhood bedroom. University is a coming of age journey and I like to choose when I eat dinner, how ‘tidy’ my room is, and the items in my space being my things.”

Tilly spent the first lockdown in March away from her family by choice and has chosen to do the same for this one.

“I’ve mentally detached myself from my mum’s house now – I will turn 22 this year and I’m ready to have a place of my own and to start my adult life.

“Another notable reason why I didn’t stay at home for the lockdown is that she is terminally ill. I know this would normally draw people back home immediately but thinking logically she needed to shield. And if I had stayed with her I wouldn’t have been able to get out of the house and that’s caused me to have a mental breakdown before. ”

‘I have to work, simple as’

Abi, a third year student told The Lincoln Tab: “Well, I would go home but if Starbucks stays open for delivery and takeaway then I’ll be staying for work. Maybe I would have stayed just to work, and probably not because I haven’t needed to do anything for uni.”

Takeaways and food places that offer delivery and pick up will continue to stay open as an essential business. They will open until 11 pm at night, offering their services but meaning students like Abi, will have to stay in Lincoln.

The University of Lincoln’s Student Support Centre, Student Wellbeing Centre, and Heath Centre are all open and available for use. If you need academic support contact the student support team or for personal advice the student wellbeing team here.

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