Heba Abu Hamideh, 20, travelling to Salford from St Helens.

Everyone says, university life is the most exciting experience. Being independent, moving to a different city, and a chance to build myself and my future.

Unfortunately, with the continuing coronavirus pandemic, the university is likely to be different and difficult this year.

As a first-year student, my first worry was choosing the right university without getting any chance to have an interview or university tour. On the other hand, the university has managed to tackle my worries by making some tour videos, sending some treats to my house and organising some competitions between students.

With the coronavirus pandemic, there are some practical challenges in universities. To begin with, moving lectures on campus to online delivery. As a student, I need to know my teachers in person. It helps me to build up a relationship with the university. However, with online delivery, it is difficult. Even to students, it is challenging to make friends and using university facilities. In the top of that, universities cancelled freshers week and student union societies are no longer allowed to do events.

Beneficially, my university did some Facebook groups for freshers and courses. It gives me an opportunity to know people from my course and communicate with everyone.

However, with the new restricted rules, I feel we live in a bubble. In university, they have minimised the number of people attending the seminars. The number of people has reduced, and I only go to university once a week. The main point is I keep meeting the same people in university while I hoped to meet different people from different countries.

I am finding out about university life from social media, the student portal and the university website. They are always up to date. As the technology revolution made our life easier by staying connected to the world.

I feel this year is not the perfect year for anyone. All the universities are doing their best to look after their students and to deliver their course in a professional way. Everyone has to wear a face mask while in university. As Covid rules are strict with two metre social distancing and hand sanitising. These rules are also applied in student accommodation. In the top of that, parties are no longer allowed in student accommodation.

Universities are offering distance-learning to students who live in distant cities in case some students cannot move to student accommodation. After all, the university is committed to give it is students all the necessary help and assistance during these unprecedented circumstances to ensure that the flow of studying operation continues as before.

In the end some students get bothered by all the rules but I keep reminding myself these rules are there to keep myself safe and healthy and to keep everyone safe. To have fun safely I will attend my campus seminars regularly to enjoy as much as I can in the university. I stay connected with my teachers and students. I won’t let the best days in my life be taken by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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