24th September 20
Brenda is currently in Year 13 and has written about her experiences of lockdown during a pandemic. This is a wonderful diary record of the experience of an international student boarding in London during this time and will be as fascinating to read in years to come as it is today. Thank you Brenda!
Staying in Boarding During a Pandemic
Hi, my name is Brenda and I’m going to tell you a little bit about my experience during the coronavirus pandemic. I was actually one of the few boarders to remain in DLD during much of the lockdown. While most of the people I knew were able to find repatriation flights back home, Cyprus retained a very strict policy on entering the country and I wasn’t able to fulfil the requirements to return home.
So, I stayed in college. By April, there were only about 20 of us left in school, not including the staff. It was definitely a bizarre experience and honestly quite challenging. Going to school virtually for one took a while to get used to. I also had to stay apart from family and a lot of my friends, and the lockdown restrictions which only allowed us to go out once a day weren’t exactly helping. But as the saying goes, “you’ve got to persevere.” Or something like that. In order to stay entertained (and at least somewhat sane), we had to get creative. Yes, for some of us that meant watching My Little Pony. Anyway, a sort of closely-knit community started to emerge here in college; we learned more about the Houseparents; we talked more with the kitchen staff; we would watch a horror movie every weekend (which gave Scott an opportunity to be even more annoying than usual) and we helped Houseparent Sheila to celebrate her special birthday. The college also started putting up NHS posters onto its windows, which I would see every time I went out for some fresh air. It brightened up Westminster, and in a weird kind of way gave me some hope. It was a reminder that the pandemic was something temporary that we would ultimately overcome.
When I finally made it home, it made me appreciate the time I spent with family more than I ever had before, and I cherished every moment I could spend on the beach without having to worry about a nation-wide lockdown.
When I heard that I would have to spend 2 weeks in quarantine in my room, I wasn’t thrilled. However, it ended up not being as bad as I thought it would be at all. The Houseparents did their best to make sure we were well looked after and managed to bring us all takeaways on the weekends (which honestly, they deserve a prize for). Being able to go out to the 3rd floor garden and communicate with other people from our floors, though not for long, was easily the best part of it all.
I’m not going to pretend that I don’t think about the future restrictions the government could impose to contain the pandemic. There’s also the possibility that I will have to spend Christmas in college, rather than with my family, which of course is not the most appealing prospect. However, if my experience in quarantine has showed me anything, it’s that technology and perseverance can help us conquer anything.
And that’s the tea.