Student perspective: Disconnecting and reconnecting

by Beth Robinson, Bristol Futures Advocate

When brainstorming solutions to feeling isolated, a friend mentioned the word ‘disconnected’ to describe their current state whilst in isolation. It resonated, both in that it’s a powerful word, but also one which also has many interpretations. So, here’s some ways you can reconnect whilst in isolation, to help you study more effectively:

1)    Reconnect with yourself. (because it turns out you don’t need a gap year for that, just government mandated quarantine). Something I’ve heard a lot is ‘my degree feels less valuable now.’ So, take the time to work out the value you find in it. The fact it will provide you with future opportunities? The enjoyment you’ve found from learning about the subject? Or even the friends you’ve made along the way. Take some time to reflect, and work out what is most important for you to focus on right now. And give meditation a go while you’re at it! If you find yourself in need of some support, rest assured the wellbeing service is still running, as is the Students’ Health Service (phone appointments).

2)    Reconnect with the online world. A struggle for many in isolation has been adjusting to a new way of living. I’ve been struggling with the idea of being online a lot, especially since I enjoy being in a library whilst working. But the University have set up a bunch of resources beyond online teaching for specific courses. My personal favourites have been the Global Lounge’s online language cafes, virtual dissertation writing retreats and events put on by societies (check out their Facebook pages or websites for all the info!) I find the combination of learning something new, getting motivated to write my diss., and having some down time an effective way to get online whilst not scrolling mindlessly through Instagram all day.

3)    Reconnect with friends. Talk to your course mates about what you’re all doing to stay focused, and have open conversations about how everyone’s getting on. Start an online revision club; come up with a new project; go along to an online society event together. That one person on your course you got on with in first year but gradually drifted from? I’m sure they’d love to hear from you. If you’re looking for a sign, this is it.

And as for disconnecting? Disconnect from any news sources which are making you feel anxious whilst trying to write or study and disconnect from using social media too much (cliché but true). Finally, disconnect with the idea that this part of your degree is any less valuable than any other parts. Because despite the chaos, this is a powerful opportunity to reconnect with a new way of learning.

What are some of the ways you intend to reconnect with the world throughout isolation? Leave some inspiration in the comments to connect with the next person who comes along.

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