A Day in the Life of a First Year / Vaneeza Jawad

I moved to London in October last year, just before the UK testing confirmed one million Covid cases. Welcome to the bane of my twenties. 

Now this may be hard, but bear with me: imagine sneaking out of your house late in the night to go to what you thought would be the biggest party of the year. You carefully tiptoe past your parents’ room with your shoes off in the middle of the night. You get into an Uber two streets down. But, when you get to the spot, you find out it’s an ugly sweater party. 

This is fine, you think, as long as my cup runneth over with cheap but effective booze. Except five minutes in someone accidentally locks you into the bathroom which is not really the bathroom, but more of a dingy closet. That’s what it’s like to spend your first year at University of Lockdown.

8:00 am

The first four notes of the Sex and the City theme jolt me awake and I begin my morning by cursing my past self. Why should this attempt to feel like the main character on a Wednesday morning fare any better than my phone’s default alarm? To get into the mood for my 9:00am, I spend ten minutes staring at the singular bulb hanging from my ceiling. Ten minutes turns into thirty. I decide this is a luxury I can afford, considering Zoom University boasts such a convenient commute — the five seconds from my bed to my desk. 


I scramble to get coffee into my mug so I can feel like a real person during class instead of a figment of someone else’s imagination. Naturally, I spill some onto my hand. So as not to disturb my flatmates, I muffle my own scream with my mildly burnt hand. 


I join class to be greeted by people I have barely ever seen in real life. I spend most of the hour thinking about how I don’t know how tall most of my coursemates are, in order to avoid confronting the fact that my only form of human contact outside of my apartment is in randomly generated Zoom breakout rooms, which seem to delight in cutting off meaningful exchanges mid-sentence.


Feeling reasonably refreshed after allowing myself an hour to rot in bed post-classes, I decide to compile notes for all my readings this week. This fifteen-minute spurt of productivity is interrupted by the stray realisation that I have never set foot in the LSE library in my entire life. 


I log into Zoom for a meeting with my group so we can finalise details for a surprise project. We spend an extra half hour talking about how overwhelmed we are. This fulfils my not-facilitated-by-necessity human contact quota for the week.


I finally find it in myself to stop procrastinating. I plan out my first summative for the term, watch a lecture, and do some further reading. A steaming mug of tea keeps me company. I never touch it. 


I decide to make a very early, very healthy dinner to breathe some life back into my stiff body: Shin Ramyun. My gourmet meal takes about ten minutes to cook, after which I sit down in front of my too-bright laptop screen for an intimate meal. 


I get started on my summative and spend some time on my French homework. My phone pings as the anthropology course group-chat tries to figure out what pages of which book we’re required to read next week. I choose not to engage because I don’t want to spend my fabulously happening Wednesday night thinking about the future. Best to live in the moment.


In the battle between being sensible and the irrational little voice inside my head pushing me to shower in the wee hours of the morning, the little voice wins. I rationalise this decision by telling myself a boiling hot shower will help get rid of the very prominent after effects of the hot pink hair dye adventure I undertook five days ago in a moment of weakness. I spend about thirty minutes in the shower. My hair is no longer hot pink, but red. I respectfully take the L.


I finally crawl into bed and soon realise I have not been able to squeeze in a moment of abject sadness and anxiety today. I debate between allowing myself to fall asleep or experiencing the limited range of emotions on my roster for the past four months. I spend half an hour wallowing, but the flesh is weak, and my body decides for me. I set a Sex and the City alarm and fall asleep. 


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