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Good vibes (for bad days) – Sewmay’s story

From college-edition cook to self-proclaimed plant mum, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) student Sewmay shares her personal experience on how she’s adjusting to life as a first-year international student during the COVID-19 lockdown in Australia.  

What are you studying? 

I am studying first-year Information Technology at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).  

How are you finding student life during COVID-19?  

Student life has taken a 180 turn for me. I had to quickly learn how to participate in Zoom meetings to get feedback for my assignments and using email most of the time to communicate with my teachers. This is a bit of a struggle because there is clearly a difference between virtual and face-to-face interaction.  

Although I very much prefer attending lectures in person, online lectures haven't been all that bad. I find that I concentrate more, and I am able to take a few breaks if needed. I also don't have to run for my lectures, which is a good thing. 

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What are you struggling with the most? 

As an international student, financial hardships are being faced by many, including me, with most casual jobs being unavailable.  

As an introvert, however, I am not facing any issues with loneliness. I have developed ways to keep myself entertained by cooking new food, baking, journaling, blogging, binge-watching k-dramas, and watching TikToks while curled up in bed for hours.  

I do get homesick every once in a while, so I call my parents and try to cook comfort food that my mother makes so I can get a taste of home. Eventually, once that void is filled, I am back to being myself. 

What have you learned about yourself?  

As trivial as it sounds, I have learned that I am a good cook. I have always considered myself to be that person who will one day burn down the kitchen after I enter it, but I haven't done it yet so I think I am doing pretty okay.  

What surprised me the most during this time is that I have become merrier and been able to do things that I wanted to do for so long. In my case, this is to eat all the food that I have always wanted to make but didn't have the time to devote to cooking.  

On a more serious note, I have learned to be more independent, take precautionary actions, plan ahead and treasure every minute in every new day.

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What hobbies, skills or superpowers have you picked up? 

I am a self-proclaimed plant mom except I don't own my own plants. Instead, I take care of my housemates' plants. Does that count? I hope so! 

I have also started singing, dancing and drawing. So far, they are very mediocre, but I am trying. The main skill I have discovered about myself is that I am good with making desserts and coming up with ‘college-edition’ food. 

What are you most looking forward to?  

I am looking forward to Korean fried chicken with my friends and boba – I miss boba a lot! and of course, having a very healthy environment for all beings to live in. 

Loved reading Sewmay's story?

You can explore more stories by international students in our blog.

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