It has been a challenging year due to coronavirus, and students are finding many different ways of coping during these times.

Study Melbourne Ambassadors Alex Gutierrez from Colombia and Josh Cook from Australia share a glimpse into their lives during coronavirus and offer some valuable insights into how you can manage your study, exercise, eating, socialising and learning.



Studying in isolation has become a tool to keep myself mentally active. I continued my project management studies online and thanks to technology and, of course, the internet everything has been much easier.

When it comes to academic support, my teacher and mentors have been the best throughout this time, even though it has also been challenging for them. I have learned a lot and it has been incredible to confirm that education goes beyond a classroom. It is a lifestyle where the main requirement is to be willing to learn.


I’m really lucky that my honours course works well with an online platform. My research can be done on Deakin’s e-library platform – without my laptop I’d be in a lot of trouble!

Most of my days are spent reading and writing. Every few weeks or so, I check in with my supervisor for an update on my progress. My supervisor also works remotely, so it’s an interesting surprise to hear if he is in NSW visiting family, or at either Deakin Burwood or Deakin Geelong!



My way of staying physically active is directly related to nature. I love outdoor activities and hiking around the city is part of my weekly routine.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, some forests and nature reserves were closed, so now I usually go to places such as the Botanic Gardens and Albert Park. Sometimes I also walk along the coast of Port Melbourne and Sandringham. That’s the best way to start my daily routine! Of course, keeping social distance and following recommendations is needed to keep myself safe.


The closure of gyms was difficult for me. I’ve never been very good at sports either. But I found a really nice track out at Lilydale to cycle, walk or run along. Each morning I get out for an early morning walk. The air is brisk but the birds, sunrise and kangaroos make it worthwhile!

Staying connected


Isolation has not been an obstacle to keep in touch with my friends and family.

Thanks to platforms like Zoom and social networks, I am talking to my family almost daily and even much more than before. 

My whole family is in Colombia and due to the 16-hour time difference, it is not so easy to find moments to be able to speak properly. As I now have a more flexible schedule and extra time, video calls are more frequent!

New words such as ‘iso-birthday’ and ‘iso-party’ are now part of our culture. What a great way to celebrate others’ lives across this tough time!


During the pandemic I’ve been using Facetime to chat with friends and family, or new video chat game apps like Houseparty to stay entertained.

Just by calling all the time, I’ve started good new habits too. I think I speak to my family more than I usually do, especially if they live interstate.

Since restrictions have been easing, it's been nice to go out again and try new food with good company. Last weekend I tried Korean BBQ for the first time and it was unreal.



I love cooking, especially on those days when I feel a little discouraged. I have found this as a therapy to focus on positive and not negative things.

During isolation I have learned new recipes but I have also improved my pizza making skills. Now I know how to make chocolate cakes as well!


At home, I have been making more of a conscious effort to stay healthy. With all the extra time, it’s been easier to invest in researching and learning how to eat healthier and tastier!

Building healthy habits can be hard work, but it’s now becoming second nature.

I’ve noticed my local Coles has lots of organic options which makes putting nice meals together easy. A friend recently got an air fryer and said it’s been life changing!



Isolation has been a powerful time to redefine priorities, strengthen my spirit and learn more about myself.

During this challenging time, I have found answers to many questions I have asked myself before and have learned to value the things I previously took for granted.

I have taken advantage of this time to learn more about photography, one of my passions in life, and improve my skills. Being part of the Study Melbourne Leadership Labs has been a great way to further develop professional and personal skills and an opportunity I will always be grateful for.


Every Friday, Study Melbourne has provided really good sessions on leadership. It is open to everyone! I’ve found it really valuable as I look to apply for graduate programs. One session that stood out was the week on design thinking.

I’ve also been helping my friends with their freelance businesses. Quite a few of my friends lost their jobs in the peak of the pandemic. But their resilience to adapt has been inspiring and keeps me occupied.