Natalia’s student diaries: week 1

Natalia Wilkowskaon 12 January 2021

Our new series will explore how the pandemic has affected various aspects of student life. Up first is Natalia, a UK-based international student.


I’m Natalia. I’m a university student studying throughout the pandemic. There have been highs and lows, but here’s my experience and what I’ve learnt.

The pandemic just seems to be going from bad to worse, doesn’t it? Some say it's just one more lockdown, but spending your time at uni, what should be the most enjoyable social experience of your life, under lock and key is just frustrating. In addition to frustration, I’m also stressed. Stressed by the uncertainty about the future. 

On the bright side, I’m taking this time to catch up with my online lectures and university assignments. I’ve got more time to stick to my schedule without the hustle and bustle of normal university life, so I guess that’s positive. 

When I am not in the mood for studying, I work on improving my prospects for the future with my internships. Making the most of this opportunity is the way that I’m best coping with the pandemic; I’m learning new skills and boosting my CV. Lots of graduates are struggling for work at the moment, so I’m trying to put myself in the best possible position for after graduation. There are loads of online courses that offer a certificate of completion, which look great on my LinkedIn profile. 

One thing I’m really missing out on is exercise. Sadly, gyms and swimming pools are closed and I can’t attend sports sessions at the university gym. However, in a bid to keep in shape, I’ve taken to the outdoor gym and, ironically, to quote McDonalds, I’m lovin’ it! Not only does it mean I get to exercise, but I love seeing the greenery of parks. It makes a major difference to my day, and gets me out of my four walls. 

Sadly, my finances have taken a turn for the worse as I normally work part-time as a waitress. But, you’ve got to think out of the box for new ways of making money in 2021. If you love dogs (I know what you’re thinking, ‘who doesn’t?’), then there are loads of opportunities for you to get your doggo fix. There are apps for pet sitters and pet walkers, such as BorrowMyDoggy (voluntary) and Rover (paid). Either way, it’s a nice way to take a break from uni and get some fresh air. Plus, it’s totally Instagrammable.

I’ve also decided to be more minimal; I ran through my wardrobe, collected all the clothes that I no longer use to sell online and took some magazine-worthy snaps. So Vogue. Make sure the background and lighting are oh-so aesthetic, as you’ll sell more that way. 

Creating mood boards have also comforted me and motivated me to dream of life post-lockdown; oh the holidays, festivals and concerts... It’s been a challenging time for the arts sector, so I want to support them when they’re back on their feet. So, I prepared a list of the artists I would like to see and planned a little tour around the UK. I got a bit carried away and started another list of cities, places and spots I would like to visit too. Lockdown has taught me that we need to grab life by the horns and make the most of it. But for now, I’ll just have to dream. 

Of course, I’ve also learnt that relationships are the most important thing to me. So, while in lockdown, I’ve made more effort to spend time with my friends and family virtually. We had an online game night and it was super fun, playing UNO, Yahtzee and Scrabble. Somehow, the pandemic has brought us closer together. 

If you’re looking for more ideas on virtual activities and games you can play with your mates, then check this out. Until next time, stay safe and make the most out of this situation. 



Natalia Wilkowskaon 12 January 2021