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I've been considering writing a blog for a few months but didn't know what I could write about. Now that we're a few months into the year, I thought I'd share my experiences of university life during the pandemic.

Last year I made the decision to live alone in a studio which was daunting at first but in truth, I feel less lonely now than I have in a while! Prior to lockdown, I organised one or two trips a week with friends, all within the rules, and they became occasions I really looked forward to! I managed to go to so many new places in these past months, more so than in the first year. But I can't go and see people all the time, especially now in lockdown 3.0. Alone, I do online socials, assignments, or commissions for my business! I've been really enjoying the British Sign Language socials and working through my sign language certificate. We also set up a photography competition and taking the time to hone my skills on walks and talk to others about it has been really insightful.

Although online classes can present a number of barriers, especially in practical subjects like Fine Art, I have personally enjoyed this year a lot and I might be a slight online learning convert too! Being an art student, the current situations are strange and I can't deny that all I'd want right now is the ability to go into a workshop and create to my heart's desire but in reality, this isn't possible. But the University has done such a good job of supporting us. Recently, we were sent packages of art supplies to tide us over which was really neat to receive! It really does surprise me how much I've managed to achieve from my own home. I've made sculptures, videos, prints and much more just from my 10 by 5-metre studio home.

January is a bit like assignment season for me. With three major deadlines, it's always daunting having a deadline coming up. But I will say that lockdown has certainly helped my mindset for working. I've managed to complete all my assignments with time to spare and even got a result of a first back yesterday (yay!!). As long as you follow the following statement safely, I think the phrase "work hard, play hard" has definitely been a motto I have been striving to follow this year.

Finding things you can enjoy from home has been so important to managing my mental health and mindset for working. Art is obviously something that I enjoy but the burden of being an art combined student means that sometimes, just sometimes you need a break from it! I really love cooking and baking and although I only have a dual hob and microwave to work with, it's interesting to see what I can come up with! I've recently invested in a new camera and a large amount of books too, so photography and reading are also activities I try to make room for every day.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little insight into what the 2020-21 year has been like for me! With my lockdown birthday coming up in a matter of days, it provides a good reflection on the academic year we've been through. As we know, the world we live in now is so different from what it was 12 months ago. But I realise, I can only make my university experience as good as I try to make it, so I'll keep working hard, taking opportunities and having fun where I can.

But most importantly, check on your friends, keep your family close and look after yourselves.

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