Blogspot: Journalism student Nicole begins her Covid-19 diary

A FEW weeks ago, Harlow College journalism student, Nicole Ruston-Payne contacted us regarding work experience.

We had it all lined up, from theatre reviews to education stories until Covid-19 turned up. Instead, we have asked Nicole to write a Covid-19 diary.

Looks like we may have unearthed a very promising journalist.

Sunday 22nd March 2020

It’s finally Sunday, the last day of a pretty terrible week. Everything has changed completely, and not for the better. The Coronavirus death rate has increased up to 244 in the UK, affecting not only mine, but the nations education and work.

Today I found out that my place of work, Five Guys, has shut down until further notice. That’s great news if I want a rest, not such great news for my bank account. However, due to this pandemic, a lot of job openings have opened at supermarkets, so today I have been looking around for another job, as I don’t like to starve my bank account.

Today is also Mother’s Day. A couple of weeks ago I was planning to take my two mothers out for a nice meal seeing I was in a financially stable position, however within the space of a week, all that changed, and I had to dive into the shops pretty sharpish for some flowers and chocolates, considering all this panic buying going on.

So myself and my brother gave them their presents which they seemed to love, and that was the end of our Mother’s Day. Right now I’m sitting here doing absolutely nothing, the past three days have been quite repetitive I must say, wake up, eat, feel bored and alone, eat and go to sleep.

This self isolation process has got so bad that I have been pressured into making TikTok’s. For those that don’t know it’s an app that people dance, lip sync to, either to show off talent or comedy (either intentionally or unintentionally), and I vowed to myself I would never let myself make one. Unfortunately, boredom and isolation got the better of me, and I must say, they weren’t kidding when they said it was addictive.

Tomorrow is when the online classes start for college, and it’s time for my my final major project, so this upcoming week should be map lot more productive than this past one. More productive learning, and hopefully less TikTok’s.

Monday 23rd March 2020

Yesterday was the end of a terrible week, and my prayers for a sign of hope in these confusing and dark times were unanswered. The online classes aren’t going as well as I thought they would, considering the circumstances I’m at home with my brother, parents and dog, who all seem to want something from me every five minutes.

On social media I’ve seen a lot of students getting excited and happy over schools and colleges shutting down, in all honesty I can’t see the positive side of this.

At home there are too many distractions, causing my motivation to lower and lower gradually. The final major project I have been given is difficult, even more difficult in self isolation.

To make my day even worse Boris Johnson announces this evening that the country will be going into lockdown. That was the last straw of my sanity. I immediately messaged my best friend and cried on the phone to her, knowing I won’t be able to see her for ages and most probably miss her upcoming birthday in a couple of weeks.

She didn’t seem as upset as me, but I’m sure she was just holding it all in to comfort me. Pretty sure. I also was on the phone to my grandma telling her how much I miss her and hoping she’s well and safe.

Times like these really made me realise some of the things I take for granted, such as college, family and friends, and work. Now all of those things have gone for a period of time and I miss them all. One of the most frustrating things about this lockdown is that the sun has finally decided to show up today.

After endless months of waiting and waiting, you can imagine my happiness when I opened my curtains and saw that bright blue sky, and could actually feel some heat on my skin when I stepped out to walk my dog. However, you can imagine my disappointment when I turned on the news and saw our prime minister in his chair, announcing the lockdown. There goes my plans for summer.

It’s really hard to concentrate on studies with everything that’s going on in the world right now, but hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to focus a little bit better and get more work done than today.

Tuesday 24th March 2020

It’s the first day of lockdown and it’s been strange. When I wake up I look outside and see the sun, and think to myself it’s a perfectly normal day, turn on the news and I’m thrown back into reality. I went by my day as how I would normally, get ready for the day, start college work, finish that up and rest for the day. However, the same routine feels very different. I am completely alone. Well, I’m not completely alone, my parents are at work but my brother was at home today, but it’s feels pretty much the same as being totally isolated, seeing as we both just exclude ourselves into our rooms up to our eyes in college work.

I keep telling myself to look on the bright side but how can I? I can’t see my friends or family, I can’t leave my house or

I might find myself in my first ever police chase, and I haven’t got a job. You’d think situations like these they’d rethink the whole “zero-hour contract”, because the people who are on it, people like me, now find themselves in a sticky financial situation. Every week I do around 15 hours a day, but people who I work with are getting paid their 10 hour contract for doing no hours, and I’m getting £0.00 for doing no hours. I think this pandemic should really make the government rethink their contract hours. In my opinion there should be no such thing as zero-hour contracts, because of situation like these.

Another thing that also angered me today was seeing people hanging out with their mates around public places today. Just stay inside! Let’s be honest Boris has done a lot for this country during this pandemic.

He’s granting and freezing mortgages, given 12 months interest free grants, closed schools, paid 80% of wages. All he asks of our nation is to do one simple thing, to stay at home and avoid contact. Yet some people find that a challenge and seem to not care about being selfish and not think of others.

Believe me, there’s nothing than I want more than to go outside and soak up this sun that we’re getting, go see my grandma, make sure she’s safe and healthy, but I can’t, because I have to respect what’s going on in the world, and respect that my choice can affect others too.

So, putting it briefly, the first day of lockdown hasn’t been a total success for some, but not a total fail for others. I just hope people realise quickly that this is serious, and we do need to actually listen to Boris for once, and then maybe we might get a summer holiday in 2020.

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