When I first arrived at the University of East London, I remember promising myself that I would walk along the dockside every single day. 

How could I not? The view was stunning, and the sunsets could rival those of the coast of Santorini. 

Sometimes it looks like the sweet cotton candy you could get at the carnival, while other times it looks fiery, making for the perfect golden hour. 

I used to tell everyone how lucky I felt that my walk home from class was that beautiful. But as time passed and uni deadlines got the best of me, I found myself forgetting the last time I stopped and watched the sunset on the docks. 

What once was my favourite part of my routine, became too much of a hassle while I run to catch the bus or to get home to do some work. 

I do this most evenings now and I take in not only the view over the city but the silence that has enveloped London since the lockdown. I’m grateful for the time and the breathing space the lockdown has given me.

While I wouldn't wish a pandemic of any sort again, I'm thankful to be able to take the time to slow down and do my favourite thing again — walk along the UEL dockside and admire the sunset.   

Bianca Franco is studying MSc International Business at University of East London.

Bianca Franco portrait