Pandemic life: "More than hesitant about the dive back into education"

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

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.

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"Studying, revision and exam prep are all words that make me want to crawl under my duvet and not return until the dulcet tones of Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé signal that it’s the Christmas holidays. After a year of working almost entirely online and then a summer where I didn’t once partake in a Zoom call or look in the direction of a textbook, it’s fair to say that I have forgotten how to hold a pen and the way to interact with other students without the safety net of ‘Turn Off Camera’. I am sure that I am not the only teenager experiencing this but with a full year of university work ahead of me, the idea of doing anything else but studying seems preferable in this moment.

"The pandemic took a lot of things away from us, and for students the overriding part of our lives that was stolen was our education. The university experience was completely flipped on its head and an opportunity that should have been the chance to socialise with different people and feel apart of a community was whittled down to simply the learning and exam taking, which, let’s be honest, isn’t much fun if you’re anything like me and are rather extroverted and also a huge procrastinator. (I have already looked at my phone at least five times whilst writing this and I’m only 231 words in – get a grip Jenny.)

"After such a challenging year it’s easy to see why many of us are feeling more than hesitant about the dive back into education. I hate to bring out the violin, but I feel this especially strongly as a second-year student who has barely even met her lecturers yet but is expected to confidently stride into this semester with a year of journalistic knowledge already under my belt. Well, clearly the belt doesn’t have quite enough notches because it’s a few days before my lectures begin and my confidence is already waning. Will I be able to focus in a three-hour lecture in an environment that isn’t my own, or write an academic essay that I won’t be able to stop and start because the lecturer won’t be leaving the Teams call to grab a cup of coffee?

"Again, I’m overthinking. What a surprise. But seriously, as freshers’ week ends and the nitty gritty of university begins it’s natural to be worried, sceptical even, that this year may turn out the same as last. At some points it was manageable but at most times a huge challenge, and I’m grateful that we can even begin this term with some normality. Will regular studying become very normal to me after a few weeks? Probably. But will I worry anyway this weekend about me having lost motivation entirely and being kicked off the course? Definitely."