It’s hard to think that since January 29th, months since the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 struck the UK, that life would’ve drastically- to quote one particular Fresh Prince: “Got flipped turned upside down” and become the new ‘normal’ we are now enduring.
Life is increasingly taking on the form of a crazy bush tucker trial, but instead of a charming Geordie duo giving us words of encouragement, we get a divided cabinet, telling us to stay in, stay out and shake it all about.
It seems the main brunt of the blame is being placed onto students, for having these ‘wild, crazy Covid parties!’ spreading the disease recklessly throughout society, or so I’m reading.
With some student kitchens being a breeding ground for strains of bacteria much worse than corona, of course it was a brilliant idea to send students back from all over the world to live in cramped student accommodation, miles away from their families and friends, and strip them from a social life, confining them to ‘university prison’.
Starting university is hard enough as it is without taking away what most define to be the most important aspect of it (apart from studying hard to get a degree obviously). This is the case especially for those students who have found themselves stuck in isolation, away from flatmates and cooped up in their rooms, whether it be for 2 weeks, or 10 days- the same amount of time that could be spent lounging on a beach getting a gorgeous sun-kissed glow, and sipping their problems away on (ahem), a mocktail or two. Just think of the holiday £9,250 could get you instead of the future debt at the end of your university years, or in fact maybe don’t- it’ll just make the situation more dire.
With the lack of university socials, face to face support, and the looming threat of contracting Covid-19 on a daily basis, it’s completely natural to feel cheated out of the supposed ‘best years of your life’- without being branded as a snowflake.
It’s a huge transition coming out of formal education with a structure you’ve known for potentially 16 years of your life- one that comes with an allocated lunch break and punishment for not doing the set work, to then be given all of this freedom with no one to hound you for not keeping on track. It’s easy to let priorities slip out of hand at university, and now more than ever when nearly all teaching aspects are completely down to you. Even if you ‘virtually attend’ a lecture in your pyjamas whilst sitting in bed, I’m still proud of you for going!
If you do find yourself struggling, try and lighten your workload, all this spare time is the perfect opportunity to catch up, with time for pre-reading (I know who’d have thought it), and time for cracking on with work you really want to put off until days before the deadline. Even though they’re not physically there your lecturers will be more than happy to help you virtually if you need it- they miss you, I think!
University, and life itself just has so much uncertainty to it, and seemingly will for a long time. Perhaps we’ll have to get with the times and accept that virtual is the way forward, but you can’t contract Covid through a webcam so there’s a positive at least. Will we ever return to how life was in general before the dreaded ‘rona’? Probably not, but maybe it’s for the best- a bit of handwashing to Happy Birthday certainly will never hurt anyone.
Sometimes, and definitely now, the weight of the world can be a little too heavy and generally pants- but things will resume, the weight will ease, and the clouds will lighten. Please remember you are never alone, as there are so many others in the exact same position as you, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone for help and talk through the rubbishness together.
Charlie O'Loughlin can be contacted via LinkedIn her profile is: https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlie-o-33084619b
Note: 'Student Blog' articles highlight the student perspective on issues relating to ProtectED. Consequently, this article reflects the views of the author and not ProtectED.