Update from a student in residence
Lisa Vickers (2016) is a postgraduate student and has remained in Cambridge during the pandemic lockdown. In her own words, she tells us how she has been navigating her way through these times while continuing her studies.
We have been social distancing at Jesus College for over two months now. The format of learning has understandably been modified. Discussions with my PhD cohort in the Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies program have moved to online Zoom meetings. I am in the process of writing my PhD thesis so, hypothetically, being stuck indoors is the perfect opportunity to complete it. However, focusing on academic tasks can be difficult at times, as I miss studying with friends and having access to the library. Many of us have been disappointed that the university’s annual activities have largely been cancelled. Yet, we have much to be thankful for here at Jesus.
The Jesus College community has shown its strength throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Students who have remained in Cambridge have formed online groups where I frequently see small acts of kindness: offering to pick up groceries for other students, sharing magazines, and sending word when they have seen much-coveted hand sanitizer at the market. It puts a smile on my face when I see students walking around the College, even from a distance. Jesuans are keen to continue participating in online events that we usually experience in person, such as Zoom yoga and pub quizzes. I am the Women’s Welfare Officer on the MCR Executive Committee, and we have been involved in facilitating these events.
The MCR Executive Committee has been active in bringing students’ COVID-related queries and concerns to the College’s administrators, who have been responsive to the suggestions that they can accommodate. I see Jesus College staff working tirelessly to ensure that we are safe and cared for. Takeaway cafeteria meals are still provided, as well as postal services. The Master even regularly writes to those of us who have remained in Cambridge to update us with information and keep our spirits up. These acts have served as further reminders to me that I am lucky to consider Jesus College my home.
My favourite activity has been walking around Jesus College and the surrounding areas. It is quiet with far less people, but it is as beautiful as ever. We have been blessed with more sunshine than usual. Cows are out grazing on Midsummer Common, ducklings are swimming in the River Cam, and a family of foxes has been visiting College. I have found myself looking around with the same wonder and awe that I felt when I first arrived in Cambridge. I have noticed more hidden niches and figurines watching from building walls. The flowers and wisteria have bloomed beautifully this year. I enjoy taking it all in and only wish that the rest of our postgraduate community could be here to enjoy it too. College life is a passing moment for us and, even with the stress and hardships that COVID-19 has posed, I am cherishing my time here. I know that when it is safe for all students to return, we will be stronger than ever.