Jenny Bathurst: “at times like these I wonder how I would cope without my faith in God”

Sussex student Jenny Bathurst chronicled Covid week by week. Now she returns to share thoughts, fears and hopes. Jenny is studying journalism at the University of Brighton.
Jenny BathurstJenny Bathurst
Jenny Bathurst

“Anyone who has ever experienced any form of illness (which is of course pretty much all of us) can understand the frustration of not only the physical limits that come alongside it but the logistical limits also. Perhaps a nasty flu meant a week off work resulting in following weeks of manic catching up, or an untimely cold meant you had to miss out on the party you had really been looking forward to. It can be incredibly frustrating and perhaps even upsetting, as that sickness is entirely out of your control and you had no intention of ever not being present at those events.

“Sometimes having a chronic condition can feel like those moments but almost on a daily basis. And even if there is a small possibility that you wouldn’t have to say no to the family party, there are 100 new logistics you have to consider in every possible scenario in case your illness plays up in a big way. Is there a way to get out so I can leave unnoticed? Have I got the right pills with me and enough water? Who is there that can help me if I am really unwell?

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“But sometimes even making one thousand considerations can still not be enough to ensure that you will be properly protected, and that is why this September I won’t be returning to university for my final year. I will be attempting to finish my degree from home whilst perhaps going to the campus on rare occasions when there is no other option. Anybody who might have been reading my column for the past two years will have followed my university journey. Finding out I had achieved the grades to get a spot on my journalism course at the University of Brighton, my first day in student accommodation, and every hurdle as I navigated online learning throughout the pandemic.

“And now a chronic illness that’s yet another obstacle to obtaining my degree. By the time I am actually holding that piece of paper in my hands I will run a marathon around Brighton (but will probably faint five minutes in). Long term conditions are often defined as a loss, due to the various capabilities and life events you lose as a result of your body’s limitations. It is such a challenge to see friends from home and university head back to their student houses for the beginning of term, something which I would be preparing to do in normal circumstances. I count my blessings that I have a stable home with two very supportive parents, but I would hope that anyone can recognise that despite this it is still very difficult to accept that something I had planned for my entire life now isn’t…well, going to plan.

“It’s at times like these I wonder how I would cope without my faith in God. I live in the peace and the comfort that whatever lies in store is His perfect plan for me. He was the Rock for our late Queen Elizabeth II, and I choose to rely on him in just the same way.