LSU blog series: Student accommodation during a Pandemic
Welcome to the third LSU blog for Loughborough University London students! In this blog, Loughborough Students’ Union (LSU) London School President, Amie Woodyatt, considers the subject of living in student accommodation during a pandemic.
By the time students get to master’s, most of us have experienced living away from home. We’ve been woken up by freshers coming home at 4am and can successfully make one dish that isn’t pasta really well (mine is risotto, though I also make a good curry).
Social distancing, lockdowns, and virtual learning have completely transformed the student accommodation experience, though. Restrictions during the pandemic have meant that for much of the year, the flat space has become a space we spend most of our time, and whilst in halls some flats are full others have one or none inhabitants, and masks are advised in most social areas.
It’s not the fun (mildly chaotic) place it was when I lived in halls for my first year.
But people have taken the pandemic in different ways. Some have been lucky in social flats, enjoying ‘nights in’ and essentially having pres*, but extending pres to not-normal-pres hours. Some have adapted into new ‘things to do’ with virtual meetups, picking up hobbies, or just catching up on films they haven’t watched (I’ve never been so well acquainted with Disney+). And the pressure has hit some hard, exacerbating anxiety over seeing other people and ‘returning to normal’.
This can be noticeably difficult in flats where there are a mix of people; if some are social and happy to return to ‘normal’, and where they live with those facing greater anxiety at the prospect, flats can clash. In this case, it’s best for all individuals to take a break, a step back, and think about what would be good for them.
With some January starters moving in later than other flat mates, and many students having been stuck at home over Christmas it means that flats are still getting to know each other. Which is weird, with only five weeks of structured teaching left.
London also affords a very different student accommodation experience than its Loughborough campus sister in the East Midlands. Loughborough University doesn’t own any halls in London, and instead has a range of recommended accommodation providers for students to use if they wish, so students are in halls across the capital. This is beneficial to meet a variety of people (although that has been limited this year), but can mean you may not be staying with students on your course, or even at Loughborough University London.
Living with a group of new people who still feel like new people eight months in can be daunting, but it’s important to remember (and use) your support networks, and listen to yourself when you need support. Living away from home is a novel and, at times, challenging experience this year, but as restrictions begin to ease in the UK and things are looking more positive, hopefully come June we can all meet up together.
If you’re a prospective student looking to study at Loughborough University London and require support finding accommodation for your studies, please contact the Student Accommodation Centre.
*Pres [prees] are ‘pre-drinks’; it’s common in the UK to buy alcohol at supermarkets and ‘pre-drink’ before going out.
We’d love to hear from you about the topics you’d like to be covered as part of the LSU London blog series.
Loughborough University London and Loughborough Students’ Union would like to thank Amie Woodyatt for this blog.
To find out more about the LSU in London, please visit our website.
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