Emerging from lockdown: a very different university life lies ahead

Sussex student Jenny Bathurst is hoping to study journalism at the University of Brighton (Eastbourne campus).

Jenny Bathurst
Jenny Bathurst

The coronavirus crisis has robbed her of the chance to sit A levels. We have asked Jenny to share her thoughts on the difficult times we are living through... Here is her latest contribution.

"If someone was to tell me back in March that there was a possibility that my time at university may be altered by the pandemic I certainly wouldn’t have believed them. This new chapter of my life beginning in September was my milestone, my one certainty that was waiting at the end of a trail of cancelled and rescheduled events. I remember even mocking the likelihood of being in lockdown in the weeks before it was announced, deeming it impossible that we could be placed in a global situation I had always likened to dystopian novels I have read. So when the news began to circulate that certain universities were committing solely to online tutoring for the entire first year, I panicked that the University of Brighton would follow suit. Of course the health and safety of staff and students takes priority in every scenario, yet that familiar panic of unexpected change began to set in, especially with the concern that I wasn’t sure whether I would be living at home or in Eastbourne come September.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

"I was thankful to receive an email just yesterday confirming that, as of now, everything will be going ahead in September whilst simultaneously taking the necessary precautions. This piece of good news has certainly been welcome at this time, to know that I will be experiencing in its fullness something that I imagine I will hold on to for the rest of my life, a place where I hope to grow as an individual in so many aspects. This has been uppermost in my thoughts in the last fortnight.

"I couldn’t write this article without addressing the injustices that I have been made aware of, predominantly through social media, this week. A heart-breaking video of black male George Floyd being murdered by a police officer in the United States purely for the colour of his skin has circulated around the internet, and the impact of this tragic event has triggered a movement that has educated me more than I could have ever imagined. The sickening inequalities faced by black individuals not just in America but all around the world has been a huge shock to me, but I wish it hadn’t. I wish I had been aware of the atrocities that I will never be able to fully understand so I could have educated myself sooner. I feel so powerless, so naïve, knowing that as a white female living in a tiny village on the South Coast it is near impossible for me to ever make a huge difference. But what I can do is educate myself. I can donate, I can share, and I can stand in solidarity with those who are treated with just a fragment of the respect we deserve as equal human beings.

"Instagram can most definitely be a toxic place but the posts and statements that have been distributed have opened my eyes to an issue I have never been fully aware of previously.

"Something that particularly stood out to me was a quote by black American author Scott Woods which I chose to share on my profile this week: “Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe.”

"Black lives matter."

*************

A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton:

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news, I am asking you to please purchase a copy of our newspapers.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspapers.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

Stay safe, and best wishes.

Gary Shipton

Editorial Director