Student life: a Covid test before Christmas for the "natural worrier"

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

Jenny Bathurst
Jenny Bathurst

The pandemic robbed her 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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"As anticipated, I will be joining the thousands of students next week who will be tested for coronavirus before returning home for the Christmas holidays. Not once, but twice. I have always felt rather smug having never required a test before as my friends have described how awkward and uncomfortable the procedure is, until now. I feel that I am preparing for this more than my GCSEs, anxiously watching videos on the most effective method and discussing with those who have experienced it what it involves.

"The likelihood is that I will turn up at the university sports centre, take the swab and leave after ten minutes after a moment of discomfort, and like most situations, wonder why I was ever so nervous. I suppose I do have to live up to my reputation of being a natural worrier. However, it is not just the physical test that is nerve-wracking, but of course the results. I have no reason to believe that I could be carrying the virus and I would certainly be surprised to receive a positive result, but I think that there will always be an element of fear attached to discovering the outcome of a test of any kind that it will not be what you hoped.

"It is undeniable that no matter people’s opinions on the virus and the way that the government has handled the pandemic, the priority for all students is to keep their family and loved ones at home safe. The hope is that by taking two tests it can be ensured that we are safe to return home without risking anybody’s health, and I agree that I will certainly feel safer knowing that I am bringing a suitcase of dirty laundry for my mum to deal with and not a virus.

"his, however, does not put my mind completely at rest. I am very much reluctant over this Christmas to spend time with elderly members of my family, particularly those at high risk, yet it causes me to question when I will ever be able to hug my grandparents and not fear endangering their health. Can a virus every really ‘go away?’ With lockdown 2.0 nearly at its end restrictions may be easing, but this by no means implies that on the very date that shops and restaurants open the risk will dramatically decrease.

"Students cannot be forced but only ‘strongly encouraged’ to undergo testing and I can imagine that this will lead to some travelling home without having taken the precaution. It is easy to point fingers and judge others for their decisions, but as long as I know that I am doing what I can to protect my friends and family then I know that I can spend this Christmas at ease.