Ebony Bailey, 18, from Leeds and now living in Salford

So the year is 2020, a worldwide pandemic has overtaken the world, slowed down life and placed everyone in danger. After going through all of this, it is now time to start university.

It should be really exciting, however, beginning university in a pandemic is a struggle. Last year students would have laughed in disbelief if someone had told them there would be restrictions imposed that would halt most social activity and limit the chance to gracefully move into adulthood with new friends and a new outlook on life.

Nonetheless, a new outlook has definitely emerged. Six months ago colleges and sixth forms started to close and this was when so many students like me started to contemplate whether we should defer a year and attend university in 2021. This was something I pondered for a while as starting university during a pandemic brought much uncertainty as to what life would be like. The question was, should I continue to pay the same amount of money if the contact with my teachers would be restricted and the quality of learning not be the same? This is something many students still contemplate as the ability to find a job right now is undeniably difficult.

This also brings the question as to why we would place ourselves in this situation? Well, the idea of studying a subject that can help you secure your dream job in the future and bring an abundance of new information that you never knew before is also pretty exciting. Packing your bags and having a taste of freedom that living away from home can bring and living with different people other than your family can be invigorating. So having online lectures and classes may be a small price to pay.

Even though I have struggled so far with attending all my online introductory calls I have always had contact with my tutor and other teachers that were there to help me out straight away. However, moving and socialising with new people can most definitely be frightening. The pandemic brings a lack of trust towards others as you are living and being close to people you don’t know. Simple questions about whether they wash their hands or whether they abide by the guidelines come to mind. These may be trivial issues to some, however, being vulnerable to the virus as I am (and so is my mum) you come into a routine of looking out for yourselves and each other a whole lot more.

Mixing with different individuals brings a sense of anxiety especially when your socialisation skills haven’t been used to an extent in months. Having to interact after so many months inside can have you questioning your ability to form a functional English sentence.

Missing family was always going to be something that occurred – pandemic or not. For me, I have to remember that my home city is not too far away and my family is always at the other end of the phone. But for now, here’s to taking on my broadcast journalism course with flare and getting my degree.

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