After flying home to Eltham to be with her family during the Covid-19 lockdown, Ashleigh Stanners, 18, has returned to university.

Ashleigh started her first year of university experience in February, studying a Bachelor of Science, majoring in genetics at University of Otago.

Her transition to university life was put on hold however, as she hastily booked flights to return home before the alert level 4 lockdown started.

"The flights back to Dunedin after lockdown had a more normal feeling and atmosphere as people knew it was more safe to be travelling."

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She says she is happy to be back at university.

"The first day or two was a bit weird settling back in but since we already know each other it wasn't as bad as the initial transition. Everything fell into place pretty quick."

During lockdown, Ashleigh kept up with her studies through distance learning.

Ashleigh watched online lectures for her subjects, as well as lab assessments and tutorials.

"It was hard to say motivated to cover all that work when you weren't physically going to the location to do these things. I completed my exams online which is completely different to the paper tests."

She says she feels lucky to have been able to go home for the lockdown.

"It was good to be with family during lockdown because you didn't have to worry about anything that could go wrong and it was just reassuring to be back with your family.

"I'm really grateful that I got to go home because it was such a stressful time and I would rather be at home then being stuck at the university as I didn't really know anyone at the time."

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Ashleigh says after living with her family again, it has been weird transitioning back to living at Arana College, one of the residential colleges at the university.

"The atmosphere is completely different but it's so nice to be back with people who are experiencing similar things with me."