Looking Back on 2021: Merry Christmas from your Bloggers

As we settle into the holiday season and campus gets quieter after a busy term one, here at the Warwick Library Blogs we’re looking back on the last twelve months. It started in a lockdown and sadly has ended with some restrictions being introduced, but in between we had some great months of learning and growing. Regardless of where you are in your university life, from a first-year undergraduate to a final year PhD researcher, I think this year we’ve been brought together in the challenges we have faced. We asked some of our bloggers to reflect on 2021, and here’s what they had to say.

The biggest change for many of us would have been online teaching and doing all our studying from home. Never did we think that phrases like ‘you’re on mute’ would be so often spoken, or our outfits would be planned by what could be seen on screen. But did we get used to home working in 2021? Maybe, as some of our bloggers said they felt the biggest change was adjusting back to in-person teaching and enjoying university life from campus.

I think biggest change is having to adjust to being on campus again and travelling to and from Uni (it takes up so much time!)

Lucy, Study Blog contributor

One blogger for PhD Life, Lucia, said: “My adjustment has been mainly from working from home (which hadn’t been working for me in a while) and going back to work on campus. There were obviously practical adjustments (taking the bus, bringing all the materials I need with me, my schedule changing, planning around food and commute etc.) but mostly mental adjustments, like getting used to working alongside others after so much time spent working alone.”

Coming back onto campus can be a planning challenge!

But with all it’s challenges, working from home did bring some opportunities. Now back at university, Study Life blogger Krishna reflects that ‘spending a couple of months away from home, I’ve come to acknowledge that family is your greatest strength.’ With many of us now away from our families again, is it time to really tap into the communities around us? Can we make a family from our society or sports club, our flatmates or our course mates?

Spending a couple of months away from home, I’ve come to acknowledge that family is your greatest strength.

Krishna, Study Blog contributor

The end of the calendar year means that we’re partway through the current academic year. For some this can mean some pleasant reflections, for others it can mean anxieties of looking forward. First year PhD student Rupika looks back over 2021 fondly, highlighting her biggest success as getting onto her PhD course at Warwick! But for Lucia, who is a third year with a looming submission date, the anxieties of thesis writing are creeping up.

I would say over the last 12 month, my biggest success is getting on to this PhD at Warwick! And it is also my biggest challenge!

Rupika, PhD Life contributor

But whatever your reflections of 2021 it’s important to remember that it’s been a bit of a turbulent year for all of us. For me, this involved five months of museums closed, and then three months of intense data collection, to a job offer that meant I put my PhD on hold. When I asked bloggers what their reflections were, Emily said this:

“My one reflection over the last 12 months is that it’s important to take time for yourself. With deadlines looming it doesn’t feel like there’s enough time to take care of yourself and finish your work but looking back there always is. Taking time to relax should be a part of your timetable as much as any other academic commitment.”

I think this is a great piece of advice and a great way to end 2021. Whatever you’re doing during these Christmas holidays, make sure you make time for yourself and your loved ones. If we’ve learnt one thing, it’s that we must cherish the people around us and enjoy every moment.

If you struggle to switch off and relax, have a read of our post The Importance of Downtime or if you’re keen to try something new, why not give yoga, drawing or cooking a go. Alternatively, you can browse all the posts on the blog by heading to our Contents page.

How have you reflected on the last year? And what are your plans for the Christmas break? Let us know in the comments below, by tweeting us @researchex, or by emailing us at libraryblogs@warwick.ac.uk

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