I Can Deal with Strikes and Storm Eunice, but Please, No More Banana Bread

This week has been a very weird time to be a student. From the relative normality of last week, this week has felt like stepping back to the normality of 2019 - as well as stepping back into the first lockdown of 2020.

University strikes have meant that many of us have had no teaching this week. While I was initially ambivalent towards the strikes, I’ve started to feel more and more anxious about what impact they may have on my assignments. The first weeks of strikes fell conveniently alongside my reading week, which allowed me to go home for a few days. However, the weather gradually became worse and worse, making going out unpleasant. Now there are red weather warnings across the country, with news channels advising us to stay home. This is a message that we’ve all heard before…

I’ve spent more time indoors than I have since starting my second year at York and it’s given me some time to reflect on the national lockdowns of 2020. With no teaching to attend and going outside seeming more dangerous than productive, I’ve fallen back into spending hours in my room. I’ve done jigsaws, played badminton with my bedroom wall (still the worse player), and caught up with a backlog of about six loads of laundry. I have also gotten to know my housemate’s routines far too well and am itching to get back on campus.

The bubble of no timetable and no teaching quickly wore off when I realised I had an assignment to submit midweek. It’s amazing how quickly your brain can make the switch from being in academia mode and being in free time mode. Forcing myself to sit down and focus was difficult without the propeller of burning hot campus coffee and the adrenaline of sitting in a seminar for a book I haven’t read. It’s also the time for feedback and marks from assignments at the beginning of term. Again, this was not an appreciated reality check from my week of rest and relaxation.

If strikes and an angry storm weren’t enough going on, we have finally made it to the YUSU elections. There is a buzz of excitement across social media (and probably campus if I ever make it back!) that I haven’t felt in a long time. Campaigning can finally happen in person, meaning the people who represent us will be actual 3D people instead of bobbing heads on screen!

The past week has been a mismatch of emotions for students. On one hand, I’m enjoying the slower pace of being at home and not having to rush between seminars. On the other, I’m panicked about the content I’m missing. I’ve run out of hands here, but simultaneously I’m also really excited to vote and see the outcome of the elections. I’m okay with this lockdown-esque vibe of a week but please, no banana bread and toilet roll shortages!