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During lockdown, Yasmin re-evaluated her approach to life and adventure

Lockdown Stories: Yasmin Turner

Four mountains, four million midge bites, 200 miles on foot and three weeks (in a tent) helped Yasmin Turner offset the misery of online learning.

With times that forced limitations on our daily lives that are so incredibly difficult to comprehend, even now a year on from the last lockdown, it is important to reflect and appreciate the changes we endured.

I am a third year English Literature student at Nottingham Trent University. However, it has felt more like an open-university degree (except more expensive), with my studies disrupted since the initial lockdown in March 2020, only about five months into my degree. I am fortunate that during the first lockdown I was just a short walk from the beach or Exmoor National Park, my hometown located in a beautiful region of the country, West Somerset. Otherwise, lockdown would have been a very different experience due to the limitations on socialising. I bought a bicycle and some jogging shorts and tried to get as much outside activity as was legally possible, ending each day watching countless sunsets.

When Boris announced we could finally meet with one other person outside our households, I began socially distanced walks with my partner, Hamish, which took us exploring more of Somerset that we had ever got the chance to before. Many, many walks in the countryside resulted in numerous tick bites (I think he had 30 at one point), a well-awaited tan and sense of freedom, at last.

Hamish and I are travel enthusiasts and, when it got to the summer, were desperate to get away. But with international travel still a no-go, we looked closer to home and decided a trip to the Highlands of Scotland would do now that tier restrictions had been lifted. Four mountains, four million midge bites, 200 miles on foot and three weeks (in a tent) later, saw us completely rethinking our approach to budget travel, with sustainability on our weary minds. With no buses running, we were forced to walk every mile, and with little accommodation open, we had to camp. However, I would not have changed a thing and it will always remain in my top three holidays for experience and enjoyment.

After summer I travelled back to Nottingham to begin my second year, hoping for a better academic year with in-person teaching. Yet, we were met rather rapidly with more restrictions and another lockdown from the start of November 2020. Halloween came prior to the lockdown, but due to the restrictions already in place, my housemates and I settled for a night in, dressing up and watching Friday the 13th.

My experience as a student has been far from ideal, with online teaching dominating my degree, however I can acknowledge that I have not had anywhere near the awful experience of essential workers, and I will never be able to imagine the extreme hardships they would have endured during the last couple years.

'Degrees of Isolation' is based on the experiences of University students who were interviewed between 2020 and 2022’.

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