Over the past couple of months, as you’ve transitioned to online learning, socialising and networking, you may have found a sense of isolation creeping in. Know that feeling alone is likely something that many others are experiencing too.

To help you combat feelings of isolation, we reached out to our Student Ambassadors to find out how they’re coping with an increased amount of alone time.

Denise Hung, Malaysia, Southern School of Natural Therapy

Alone time has its advantage for one to reflect on their journey. I keep a journal to pen down my thoughts (happy moments, fears, joy, etc.) and re-read them. It helps me understand myself better when I deal with any situation. We often react to events rather than reflect and manifest the future we desire.

I [also] alternate between morning yoga, running and long walks. Melbourne has plenty of greenery in every neighbourhood (even the city!). So I am taking advantage of soaking in its beauty between online uni classes.

Shohail Ibne Mahbub, Bangladesh, Monash University

I have always been a bit of an introvert, and in isolation I have more chances to do what I love. I practise my guitar skills, hop on Photoshop for a bit of a design exercise, go on Pinterest and Behance to explore what other creatives do and learn new recipes from YouTubers! I have also been listening to a lot more music these days at home, and exploring new genres on Spotify. Oh, and I finally got the chance to play some video games I've been meaning to!

Lily Li, China, the University of Melbourne (graduate)

Having more alone time also means that I have more time to think about my future, understand what is my priority and adjust myself with a better lifestyle. It helps me to think positively with the hope of the future.

Karex Huang, China, RMIT University

From my personal experience, I feel more comfortable treating this time as a chance to enrich myself rather than being shut-down from the rest of the world. By thinking that way, an excellent way to deal with those isolated feelings is quite clear: find something that keeps you occupied. Ever thought of learning a new language or a new musical instrument, or ever thought of editing your vlog? Now is the perfect time to get started — as you probably have more spare time then you used to.

Once you dive yourself into something, there's no place left for negative feelings. What's more, learning new things doesn’t prevent you from catching up with other people. On the contrary, on the journey of your learning, it's quite likely you will get to know more new people across new communities, gain more friends and companions while learning new skills – two birds one stone, isn't it?

Persie Duong, Vietnam, Monash University

I have saved so much travelling time, and now I can use it to exercise and stay healthy. In fact, walking is my favourite activity and to avoid getting on public transport, I have been walking to the shops to get groceries every week (two-in-one – how convenient!). I also enjoy getting creative in the kitchen. During this time, I have been practising and improving my meal planning skills, which I believe will be super handy when life is back to normal. I really appreciate the TV time with my sister every night and I love catching up with my family and friends back home.

Yiran Wang, China, the University of Melbourne

I’ve utilised this time to develop some new skills. For example, I have picked up my piano which I haven’t touched since Year 5, and surprisingly, I am not too rusty on it. Besides practising the piano, working out (following YouTube videos at home) also became part of my daily routine. These activities enable me to stay focused and energised throughout the day. Keeping yourself occupied with hobbies not only benefits your personal development, but also reduces loneliness.

Kimberly Mitchiko Clemencio, Philippines, Southern Cross Education Institute

Throughout my usual days before isolation, I customarily relied on my daily schedule to keep myself productive and on-track of my school activities, work agendas and extracurricular events. During this time of isolation, I still outline my daily schedule to keep me motivated and diligent, because I feel that I am at my best when I know that I have a number of tasks to do on a daily basis and see that I actually get things done at the end of the day.

If you are wondering and asking, “Why is she still busy despite staying at home?” the answer is – I am taking advantage of the luxury of time that I have. I am able to talk to my family in the Philippines a lot more than usual, and their emotional support at this stage is very significant. And, more importantly, I am able to do the hobbies that I’ve been wanting to do before but [my] hectic schedule restricted.

Hoa Pham, Vietnam, Deakin University

I think this is the ideal time to get down to self-development activities that we all know are “nice to have” but have never got time for. If you have always wanted to read a book, cook a new dish, review your LinkedIn profile, reconnect with your old teachers, learn a new skill, start a blog or a vlog, practise playing an instrument or learn a foreign language, just do it because you won’t ever get this abundance of free time again.

In addition, a lot of organisations are now offering online courses for both technical and soft skills, and libraries are opening up their online collections at no charge. Since the start of my self-isolation period, I have been brushing up on my marketing, design and content writing skills, keeping up with my study at university, as well as holding even more frequent conversations than before with both my existing and new connections via Zoom sessions.

Jessica Santos, Colombia, Insight Academy of Entrepreneurship

In my case I always try to do my duties as soon as possible and give myself the time to start doing different activities that help keep my mind and body healthy. Working out, preparing my  favourite breakfast or lunch, beauty sessions and reading that book that I got as a gift long ago, are some of the habits that I am getting into this time. And to be honest, I am really proud of the results that I have achieved over the last month. Although the instruction has been staying at home, I found myself feeling closer to my family and friends due to more frequent calls and video calls. In fact, finding online games and having long conversations have helped me find this experience a little bit more interesting and funnier.

Megha Bote, India, Victoria University

I have started writing a journal during lockdown time to express my thoughts, ideas and feelings. [I am also] doing some certifications based on my area of interest through self-learning platforms such as Hack The Box, PentesterLab, LinkedIn Learning and Udemy. I am learning various skills such as how to shoot and edit videos like a pro, trying out different recipes and learning sign language. My favourite activities are reading books, learning Zumba dance moves, listening to podcasts and watching Netflix series at night to reward myself after following a daily routine throughout the day.