With conflicting government info, job anxiety and the ever-present fears about spreading Covid-19, it’s understandable if you feel like this Christmas break is going to be a bit grim.
But all we can do is make the best of it. Knowledge is power, and we want you to have all the info so that you can make an informed choice and (hopefully) make this period suck less.
What the heck is the student travel window, anyway?
The government’s decision to impose a student travel window (between 3rd and 9th December) for students to travel home to their families has plenty of major repercussions for you.
You don’t have to return home during the window, but if you leave it any later you put yourself at risk of having to spend 14 days in isolation should you come into contact with anyone who tests positive after that date. This could mean you have to stay at uni over Christmas.
To find out more about the student travel window, head to Gov.uk.
Why is the travel window a bit (read: a lot) problematic for students?
Christmas is peak time if you work a retail or other customer service role. But with shops and restaurants opening again in early December when the lockdown is over, many companies don’t want to grant their student employees an entire month off. You might feel as though the travel window means you’re being forced to choose between spending Christmas at home with your family and keeping your job.
And although we’re oversaturated with cutesy images of family bonding time during the Christmas period, we know real life isn’t always like that. If the thought of spending a month at home with your family makes you worried for your mental health, you’re not alone.
Important takeaways for you as a student
Your physical and mental wellbeing, as well as those of your loved ones, is top priority.
If you’re planning to go home, protect yourself and your family members from Covid. The College are offering asymptomatic tests on Goldsmiths campus for students preparing to go home, so get yourself to campus and get checked out. If you’re an asymptomatic carrier, the last thing you want is to take the virus back to your family.
If you’ve booked train or plane tickets that aren’t during the travel window and need to change them, the Travel Assistance Fund that has been set up by the College could help cover the cost. If you can’t get financial assistance, and your transport falls just outside the window, get tested and then self-isolate until your journey to make sure that you’re not infectious.
If you think it’s too risky to go home at all, or can’t leave London because you need to keep your job, make sure you stay in touch with your friends and family during the Christmas period and try to stay upbeat. This is the New Normal, and plenty of people will be doing the same.
If you’re feeling depressed or unhappy, you can contact the Student Wellbeing Service up until the start of the holidays. During the Christmas period itself, this will be closed, so your best bet is to get in touch with your Campus Support Officers – they’re available round the clock.
Mind and the Mental Health Foundation also have good resources on how to stay positive and deal with the stresses of the Christmas period. For a longer list of mental health resources, here’s our wellbeing and support blog.
Stay positive and remember: it’s only one year!