The start of the new academic year is fast approaching. If you are an international student, you may be required to self-isolate upon your return to London, and students may also have to self-isolate during term too.

Whilst self-isolation may be something you’re familiar with, it remains a potentially lonely and daunting time. How will you pass the hours without getting totally bored? How do you keep yourself energised and optimistic as the days pass by?

Here are four ideas for how you can make your self-isolation period more productive and more enjoyable…

Get involved with online events:

Don’t wait until you’re out of quarantine to start getting involved with UCL’s student community; start now, from the comfort of your own room!

From Monday 13 September, there will be a variety of online events happening that you can immerse yourself in to occupy your time and take your mind off being in isolation. The Student Psychological and Counselling Services are running a host of wellbeing events including talk on managing stress and anxiety in quarantine, a personal development workshop and exercise classes.

One-to-one Peer Support wellbeing sessions
Peer Link Support provides a space for students to talk about what’s going for them – from course worries to relationship issues. We know that sometimes it can be difficult opening up to professionals and, talking to other students about problems can feel more comfortable. We also know that there are a lot of services and support available and it can be hard making sense of what’s out there.
Peer support group session
This is a welcoming, inclusive, and non-judgmental peer support space where you can discuss your thoughts, feelings, and concerns with other students, whether you're a new or returning UCL student.You might have concerns about socialising and making friends, or you might be struggling to get into your studies. There will be two trained Peer Link Workers facilitating this group discussion.We…
Postgraduate Project Active Pilates
Pilates is a method of exercise that consists of low-impact flexibility and muscular strength and endurance movements. Pilates emphasizes proper postural alignment, core strength and muscle balance. The class is beginner friendly and open to all fitness levels but be prepared to have a good workout!Equipment: A water bottle to stay hydrated!Location: Rehearsal Room, 1st Floor Bloomsbury…

Digital Welcome Week begins on Monday 20th September, bringing a range of exciting opportunities for you to meet the Students Union’s various clubs and societies ahead of their transition to their in-person events the following week. Why not try an exercise class with Project Active, join in with an online quiz with Dance Society, or enjoy speed friending and online games with Art Society?

Couch to 5K
Join us for our Couch to 5K programme, run by our social running captain Elif!This is the perfect session for you if you want to get into running, or if you used to run but want to ease yourself back in.During the sessions, you'll alternate walking and jogging and the idea is that you progress each week by running a little bit more each time. By the end of the programme you should be able to…

Brush up on reading material and pre-term tasks

Utilise your time during quarantine by preparing for the academic year. This may involve beginning some set reading, organising your ring binder folders, memorizing your timetable or preparing essay topics for upcoming assignments. 

Is there a particular area of an academic module that you’re struggling with? What about that article you promised yourself you’d read during summer but kept pushing to the bottom of your to-do list? Tackle these tricky tasks now, before you get distracted by the outside world post-isolation; you’ll thank yourself later!

Set yourself a challenge or goal

Staying motivated can be tricky during isolation, especially if you’re isolating by yourself. Keep things fun and energetic by setting yourself a quarantine challenge. This could be anything from an isolation readathon (reading a certain number of books) to a 14-day exercise challenge, learning how to say basic phrases and introduce yourself in another language to memorizing a piece of music you love if you’re a musician. 

Not only will challenges like the above give you a reason to get out of bed every morning rather than deferring to Netflix or staying in your pyjamas, they will also offer a huge sense of achievement that you may not have experienced if you had not been in self-isolation for this period of time.

Enrol on a free course

Have you ever been inspired to learn more about something you’ve seen on the news, watched on TV or heard your friends talk about, but have never had quite enough time to investigate it?

Now is your chance! Sites such as FutureLearn have a range of free, accessible and engaging courses across a multitude of topics, from forensic science to technology, medicine to history. Many of the courses can be completed in two weeks, and designating a few hours across the time you’re in isolation to your course of choice may give you a new skill or encourage you to pursue the area in more detail.

There's also LinkedIn Learning which we get for free using our UCL account. LinkedIn Learning has some great courses on academic study skills, job hunting and something we all probably struggle with, procrastination - and of course, we can always add any skills learnt online onto our online LinkedIn CV.

You don’t have to be an expert or have any prior knowledge - the beauty is that you can give it a go, and there’s no obligation to finish if you’re not interested. Give a course (or multiple courses!) a go, and you might just uncover a passion or interest you never thought you had.

Written by Isabelle Osborne, Third year English BA