Opinion | Please don't treat us students like kids throughout this second lockdown


By Maya Ellwood-Sawyer, First Year, Philosophy and Sociology

During the national lockdown I was very strict on the rules. I didn’t leave the house apart from for my daily walk and like many others I felt anger at those who weren’t abiding by the rules as meticulously as me.

Didn’t they care about the old and vulnerable? Or the overwhelmed NHS staff? Couldn’t they see the importance of this sacrifice?

But when the government released us from lockdown, with schemes encouraging us to go out, spend money and return to filled offices I started to feel different. This to me, signalled that although the danger was still there, we needed to move forward with life. For the economy if not for our mental health.

As part of a generation that has been raised to believe it is the individual’s sole responsibility to tackle the worlds problems, encouraged to use paper straws and reusable water bottles to solve global warming and the like, it’s hard not to feel guilty about continuing with life while cases both locally and nationally are rising.

However, it is more than evident what a huge toll lockdown is taking on students’ lives, with many suffering from severe and sometimes fatal mental health issues that have been either triggered or aggravated by the lockdown.

The first year of University can be incredibly lonely and difficult at the best of times, add to that being unable to meet people on your course face to face, socialise in a normal way and possibly being unable to return home to see friends and family, it sadly seems cases like this are inevitable.

We all know the importance of protecting those around us

In light of this, since returning to University, despite a rise in cases, I have been more lax with lockdown restrictions than ever before. While I still understand the huge importance of continuing to act responsibly, I also believe that we need to find a balance between following restrictions and living a life that is not detrimental to our mental health, study and ultimately our University experience.

Having been promised a once in a lifetime experience, I think you would struggle to find a student who is content with having it reduced so drastically.

Beyond this, what most universities claim to teach their students is critical thinking skills, and these are the very skills I believe we should be using in order to decide the best way to act in light of the pandemic.

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We all know the importance of protecting those around us. That being said, I think that students, for the most part anyway, are well equipped enough to balance being sensible and responsible enough to protect others while taking into their own hands whether a seventh person should be allowed into their flat.

Of course, I’m not encouraging anyone to flout the rules: obviously, if you have symptoms get a test and stay inside. But from what I’ve seen, my friends are overly vigilant and considerate about looking out for the signs and staying in to protect people.

Ultimately, sending thousands of young people from across the country into a new area to live with new people was always going to cause a rise in cases – and students would have blamed for that rise anyway. But students are generally considerate, smart, and responsible enough to decide how to follow restrictions.

Featured Image: Epigram / Lucy O'Neill

Do you think that students have been following the lockdown rules?