What is it really like to move to uni during a pandemic? An interview with a Trent fresher

This year is a write off

Many freshers are now settling into university life, supposedly the best years of your life, but this year is very different for these students. 10pm curfew, no mixing of households and clubs are shut – freshers week was well and truly cancelled.

Normally, by the end of Freshers’ Week, you know if your new flatmates are going to be your new besties, or if you’ll just be a group of strangers living side by side. If you decide that they are not for you, unfortunately, for this years batch of freshers – you’re stuck. As a result of the Tier 2 restrictions that were introduced into the city last week, residents of Nottingham are not to mix households indoors.

Ellie Capewell, 18, has just started studying an NTU and is currently living in Gill Street North halls in the city centre.

We spoke to Ellie and asked her a few questions about her experience so far as a Covid-19 fresher. She told The Nottingham Tab that she is living in a flat of four people, each with their own bathroom and that she has recently tested positive for Coronavirus.

What was the move in day like?

“Moving to university during a pandemic has been a struggle to say the least. I was only allowed a few people to help me move in and there was a one-way system in place so it was really hard.”

How easy has it been getting close to your new flatmates under the circumstances?

“It has been relatively easy to bond with one of my flatmates. We have been shopping and just been talking loads, what else can we do at the minute? Making new friends however, has definitely been challenging due to social distancing.”

Have individuals been social distancing within your accommodation?

“There has been no mention of social distancing from the uni at all, but as a flat we are respecting the rules. It has been hard though as we have a shared kitchen. Communal areas mean the virus can be spread more easily due to the shared appliances. Security within my accommodation have not been regulating social distancing or punishing the people who have been breaking the rules.”

What were the freshers events like?

“I have only been to a few freshers events as I had to isolate, but they were actually quite fun. Social distancing was obviously in place and we were unable to stand without a mask and we couldn’t dance at all. We were allowed a maximum of six at each table and although we stayed within our bubbles, they did not seem to ask or even care.”

How have your lectures/seminars been structured?

“Lectures have been quite hard for me as I have really struggled with Microsoft Teams. It often crashes and sometimes the lecturers don’t even know how to use it properly. But in their defence, the lecturers have tried very hard to make sure that everything is taught and that students stay on track.”

What is it like to self-isolate since testing positive?

“I have found it really difficult in isolation as I’m away from home and I am now stuck here since the introduction of the new rules. The university have not been very supportive. The staff have kept everything clean, stuck to social distancing, have even sent a food delivery, but have not taken into consideration the needs of the flat.”

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• Five lessons I learned in isolation as a student

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