April 27, 2020, by sleatherland
COVID-19 Diaries: staying connected
Sophie is one of our first-year student nurses and is sharing her experience of what it’s like to be a University of Nottingham student during these challenging times.
Read her second instalment about how she’s keeping in touch with her friends and the student community during this time.
If you’d have told me this time last year that my primary way of speaking to my friends would be through video calls, I would have laughed in your face. There have always been two types of people in my mind: those who love video calls, and those who hate them, and I have always firmly been in the latter category. But when the world feels like it’s been turned upside down, you have to evolve with it, which means I’ve had to face my fears…
But in reality, once you’ve gotten over the weirdness of seeing yourself while you’re talking, facetiming your friends can be the greatest feeling in the world. Conversation doesn’t necessarily flow easily, and the list of technical issues we’ve faced will never end, but that’s just what makes our weekly ‘FaceTime afternoon tea’ talks all the more enjoyable. With my friendship group especially, with the majority of us being on or having gone back to the front lines (most having started our journey in to nursing having held a job in healthcare beforehand), having something (or someone, admittedly) to laugh at is a relief. It’s just a nice reminder that no matter how stressed we get, there are people at the other end of the phone who love us and are there to support us in these difficult times.
And it’s not just facetiming with friends that has become a constant in my life, but also work facetimes, like committee meetings with the Nottingham New Theatre, for which I am the outgoing Company Stage Manager. Have you ever tried to have a productive meeting with 30 people in a call? It’s difficult, to say the least. The same goes for meeting with our classes; every now and then we’ll have a tutorial, or an online seminar run by the university, and at least once a call someone’s mum starts talking to them or they forget to turn on their microphone. All of this has been an… interesting experience. But it’s an experience nonetheless, and one I know that we will cherish when this is all over.
Outside of FaceTime, however, is where I’m glad to have been born into this generation, because nothing has really changed. My parents always used to joke about how I put my life on social media, and how its not really socialising if you’re not talking to someone face-to-face, but I think they’re finally starting to understand just how connected Facebook and Instagram and all the other forms of social media keep us. Even if I’m not talking to a friend directly, seeing them posting memes or interacting on the university group chats gives some sort of semblance of normality, and I’m infinitely grateful that we have the ability to check in on our friends even without messaging them directly (because lets face it, who wants to be asked ‘how are you?’ 30 times a day.
So even though everything is a bit crazy nowadays, from a social standpoint very little has changed. I still get to chat and joke with my friends, I still hate using FaceTime, and memes are still the sure-fire way to get me laughing at my phone like an idiot. And the best part? In a year when all of this is over, we’re going to be able to look back at our online memories and remember that the internet is what brought us together in a time where nothing else could.
The University of Nottingham’s coronavirus guidance is available on our website. We are regularly updating this information and you should use these webpages as your main source of information about our response.