Pandemic life: "a scary situation can have its positives"

Sussex student Jenny Bathurst has been writing for us about pandemic life since lockdown began back in March last year.

Jenny Bathurst
Jenny Bathurst

She has now turned those columns into a book Lockdown Observed: Becoming an Adult Without Leaving the House.

The pandemic robbed Jenny of the chance to sit A levels. But she ended up with three As and is now studying journalism at the University of Brighton (Eastbourne campus).

Here is her latest contribution.

"Whether you are a student, parent or just about anyone in the academic sector, there is a likelihood that you would consider September a time of transition. Although moving up a year in secondary school may result solely in a change of a classroom seating plan or a teacher, a transition in higher education such as university can result in a whole new group of people and, most likely, an entirely new place to live as well.

"Moving into my first year of university nearly one year ago now was perhaps one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of my life. Of course now I look back and wonder what all the fuss was about, but the sheer fear of the unknown was enough to make me feel incredibly anxious at the time. Reminiscing now after speaking to friends I have met in my first year at the University of Brighton I have found that I certainly wasn’t the only one, and I feel for those students who are fast approaching beginning their time in this new environment.

"However, despite this being my second year living in Eastbourne to study it doesn’t mean that this September hasn’t been without its personal changes. Yesterday I moved from living in a household of friends back to my parents’ home, in time to move to my new student home in Eastbourne in nine days. The effort of this alongside a cleaning job and the emotion of leaving friends who I bubbled with throughout much of the pandemic has been, to tell the truth, exhausting. As I look around my room now I see boxes and bags full of possessions I have no energy to unpack only to pack again in a week’s time. Perhaps you think I am sounding overly dramatic, and maybe I do, however there is something about uprooting much of your comfort zone in preparation to head somewhere entirely different that is overwhelming, no matter how courageous or ‘ready’ you are. Although the girls I am moving in with are great friends, it is still a transition and one I don’t feel ashamed for not being completely unphased by.

"Whether you are preparing to head to university or are beginning at a new school, there is always scope for feeling anxious or uneasy and in my opinion that doesn’t directly translate to being ungrateful. I think there’s an assumption on social media that if someone admits to feeling any sort of negative emotion surrounding an exciting or unique experience that they are undeserving, but if this past year has taught us anything it is surely that a scary situation can have its positives, and vice versa."