From Watlington to Lincoln and back
A lot of students will agree that flying the nest and going to university brings an enormous sense of freedom.
As a home bird myself , it took me a while to spread my wings and fly, and most importantly, thrive in an alien-like town when I started studying at the University of Lincoln back in 2019.
I had just started to take off like a fledgling and get the hang of not only living independently but also starting off my career as a journalist when suddenly it all came crashing down and Covid-19 struck the UK.
Very abruptly, I had to pack away my life in Lincoln and fly down the A17 back to Watlington as headlines caused great panic and uncertainty on what to do, and home seemed like the best place to be.
My last lecture ended with my tutor Andrew David saying: “This isn’t going to last for just couple of weeks, it’s going to affect us all for a very long time.”
I shrugged this comment off and thought of the initial three-week lockdown as a holiday, little did I know that Andrew was going to be spot on and the rest of my first year and almost the entirety of my second year was going to be spent online.
Like many other raging university students across the UK who were plummeted from lecture halls to sitting behind laptop screens day after day.
The thought of tuition fees were racing through my mind. Why did me, and thousands of others have to pay £9,250 a year when we were not receiving the initial course we were advertised?
Personally, I don’t think this can be blamed on staff at the university, who tried to deliver engaging and quality lessons their upmost best and remained positive throughout.
But government has failed students who will eventually pay off thousands of pounds worth of tuition fees.
Of course, it wasn’t just my academic life that was affected, but my social life too.
Meeting friends in pubs and clubs soon turned into a facetime call, or no contact at all. I had just started dating my current boyfriend and we managed to keep our relationship running through lockdown, long distance and speaking though a screen.
In an incredibly isolating time, university gave me a reason to get up in the morning, it made me feel a little less lonely as I turned on my camera to join an online class.
It wasn’t a replacement for real life connection, but it put a plaster on a deep wound.
Now life is returning “back to normal” for myself, and those in my university circle, it was a culture shock to sit next to somebody in a classroom, share a smile with a friend I haven’t seen in 18 months, to hug my boyfriend, to raise my actual hand in a classroom instead of on Zoom.
It feels so wrong but so right at the same time.