Being in Lockdown – A Reflection
2020-09-28 16:16:59
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International master's student Michael Reyner Suwijono (Indonesia) participates in Peking University HSBC Business School's UK-China cross-border program in Boars Hill, Oxfordshire, England. Here he shares insights from his experience during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Some people might find being under quarantine very frustrating, but I look at it from a different perspective. Following the announcement of the UK's lockdown in late March, I had not been outside my accommodation except for essential activities like grocery shopping and exercise. This meant that I spent most of my time at home. Was it boring? That depends on how one manages oneself. The most important lesson I have learned from the experience is how to develop self-discipline. 

During the first few days I was like everyone else; lockdown was frustrating. I slept late and woke up late when there were no online classes and spent most of my time online doing unnecessary things, such as surfing YouTube. I thought that having more "free time" meant having more "fun time." Yet, soon I realized that these activities are the very things that caused my frustration in the beginning, and I started to see this free time differently. 
I learnt that we can alleviate boredom and frustration by using time constructively, to learn new things and keep our brains engaged. We could be more intellectually enriched and get through this lockdown meaningfully. So, I started to adjust my sleep cycle and felt really good when I started my day early. Then, I bought fitness equipment from Amazon and exercised early, unless I had morn¬ing classes. That meant exercise would be later in the afternoon. Every Saturday I put on a protective mask and cycled around Oxford. 

Homemade korean beef & mushroom
Eating the same meals every day can be repetitive, but the lockdown inspired me to be more creative in my cooking, and I looked on YouTube for recipes to try. I rarely ordered any takeaways unless I ran out of food. 
As a Catholic, I always enjoy celebrating Easter at church with my friends and family. Unfortunately, in 2020 I had to spend Easter at home alone. Luckily, my church provided online streaming, not only during lockdown, but regular weekly masses were also streamed, which I really appreciated.

When the new academic module with PHBS started in late February, we were allowed to take up to four online classes from the Shenzhen cam­pus. I was very excited because now I could choose a subject that I really wanted to explore, but cur­rently not offered here on the UK campus, such as brand management. I also took Research Meth­odology to prepare better for my thesis as early as possible. Apart from my classes at PHBS, I also enrolled in an online Chinese class. To be able to speak Chinese is one of my goals. Even though I had been taking Chinese through PHBS I wanted more practice.
Oxford's Port Meadow
Taking classes and keeping busy every day mo­tivated me to study harder and make the most of this extra time. However, this doesn't mean that I didn't take some time to enjoy myself. I always allocated one hour before sleep to browse the In­ternet or watch a film. On the weekends, my flat-mate and I would watch a movie to chill out.

The hardest lesson I've learned from the lock­down is self-discipline, and the key is making things a habit. Fully using my time every day and having a tangible goal was the way to go to overcome this difficult period. Therefore, it was important to use my "free time" to work toward achieving my goals: to study better, write a good thesis, graduate, and have a successful career in the future.

By Michael Reyner Suwijono