• Anna Doherty

Reflections over the last year as a student

As we come closer to reaching a year of a not so celebratory anniversary since we were first ordered to stay at home, I have found difficulty in imaging a life pre-pandemic or even the one that proceeds it.

I can barely recall the days of frantic schedules, returning to my bed only to sleep and that yearning, yet enraptured feeling of wanting to cram more into my life, in fear that perhaps the world is passing me by.

Staying inside and living a much slower life has almost became second nature to many of us now. Our lives now have become incredulously boring whether you’re still working or not; long days with no rewards or things to look forward to.

Instead of looking forward to dates and months ahead, we just look forward to normality; routine in travelling to school or work, meeting a friend for a catch up or going to the gym.

We miss the mundane, the boring and the monotony of life itself – the one we used to complain about probably more than the one we do now. Things that once were absentmindedly taken for granted are now merely a form of nostalgia.

I’m sure I am not the only one dreaming of parties and holidays and a world where hugging your loved ones doesn’t put their life at risk.

I miss the thrill of a getting ready for a night out, dancing with my friends and meeting unexpected and wonderful people and exchanging forgotten conversations throughout the night.

I miss the interactions that once felt so easy and facile to decline; bound to the idea that there will never be a day where I cannot legally socialise.

Evenings inside have become unquestionably ordinary; replacing the nights we took for granted of bustling cities and vibrance of the arts and culture which have ceased to exist as we know them throughout the pandemic.

Although I have gotten some pleasure from the new normal of online interactions and in attending lectures from my bedroom, it goes without saying that it is not nearly the same experience.

As a student in my final year, I have missed the sense of purpose I derive from going into University to study; finding a seat in the library with a coffee, ready to get my head down for the rest of the day.

I miss seeing my friends on my course and talking about the dull things from the weather, to a piling workload and asking what they’re up to on the weekend.

My lecturers do make it more enjoyable though and I am lucky to have teachers that have supported me throughout this whole time.

From seeing their furry pets in the background of videos calls, to savouring in the beauty of attending a 9am lecture in bed on a rainy morning, and getting to know people through the less intense, and in ways more personal advent of online communication – it hasn’t been all bad for sure.

This lockdown has been far more challenging than the first; the novelty of the crisis has worn off and our naiveties to how long it will go on for has faded much since the first time round.

Although our efforts are low; perhaps Zoom pub quizzes feel unendurable at this point and our banana bread recipe is no longer a quick fix for when the dread is creeping in – we must stay positive for the Covid doom mongers cannot win.

As the vaccine roll out goes ahead; as perhaps one of the more successful achievements of our government throughout the crisis, we have hope of normality - thanks to the breakthroughs of science and technology and indeed, better days do lie ahead.

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