It has nearly been a month since the second term of the university year came to an abrupt end and students flocked back to their hometowns for the isolation period. Almost overnight most of us packed our bags and said goodbye to the towns and cities that were just starting to become home, not knowing when we would be able to return.
However, not all students have chosen to leave university, and some have stayed put in their houses and accommodation. We spoke to four students about why they chose not to abandon their uni life and return to their family home for quarantine.
Melissa Cole – Nottingham Trent University
Whilst a lot of us are stuck inside, others are out working more than ever to keep the nation healthy and stocked up on food supplies. Being one day a supermarket assistant and the next day named as a key worker comes with its responsibilities, meaning some students have had to stay at university and work.
Melissa said: “I’ve stayed at uni instead of going home mostly for work. I work in a supermarket as a part-time job to fund my studies, but now I’m considered a ‘key worker’ and have multiple customers thanking me every shift for coming to work, something which is very strange to me because it’s just my job. Also, my dad is considered vulnerable and is self-isolating so it would be a risk for me to go home and continue to work. Staying at uni was an easy option for me.”
Dané Hall – The University of Lincoln
When choosing where to spend the lockdown period, we not only had ourselves to consider but our family members as well. At university, you often live with multiple people and are likely to be exposed to more germs, illnesses and possibly the coronavirus. Therefore, some students had no choice but to stay at university to protect themselves and people back home.
Dané said: “Staying at university during quarantine has been difficult but has been my only option in this particular situation. I have a part-time job in a hotel, this has been one of the main reasons for staying. After the university closed, I was still working until they were advised to stay closed. My father also recently visited Malaysia meaning that when he arrived home, he had to go into a two-week quarantine duration, therefore being unable to go back to him. My mother is also classed as a key worked and if I went home to her, she would’ve also had to go under a two-week quarantine which wasn’t an option for her at the time.”
Clare Atherton – The University of Sussex
Gaining more freedom is one of the best things about going to university. You can go out when you want, do what you want and have no parents to answer to when you get home. For some students, this freedom is too hard to give up, even in quarantine.
Clare said: “Throughout the lockdown, I have been staying at my house in Brighton where I study, rather than being back at home with my parents. This was mainly because I have a job at my local Co-Op whilst I’m at uni and I wanted to continue working and earning. I also chose to stay because I enjoy the freedom of living away from my parents and I feel as though when I am staying with them, I am a lot less productive in getting my uni work done.”
Jessica Goddard – Nottingham Trent University
It’s a well-known fact that university accommodation is expensive. Whilst this wouldn’t be too much of an issue if the summer term was going ahead, many of us are now having to pay a full term of rent for somewhere we don’t live. Some lucky people in student accommodation have had their rent reduced or waived for the next few months, however, this is an unlikely outcome for students renting privately.
Jess said: “I have chosen to stay at university because I couldn’t bear to pay over £1000 in rent for my student house whilst not even living there. It seemed a waste of my money to go home at the time, however, all of my friends have now gone home and it’s very quiet. I will be going home as soon as isolation is lifted.”