Kyle Somerville, 18, from Denton, Manchester.

When it comes to finding a place to belong, when it comes to higher education, it can be very tricky at the best of times. This was the first thing I had learned about, when deciding upon a university that suited my needs as a student, and as a person; even prior to the existence of COVID-19. Having been scouting locations since the summer of 2019, I had experienced my fair share of crowded lecture rooms and talks with tutors that have helped put my mind at ease. 

Despite my initial efforts, I originally considered the idea of not pursuing the academic path because of Covid-19, due to the plethora of hurdles it has placed in front of the newest set of students across all levels of education.
Covid-19 places restrictions on even the small aspects of student life that past years would not have to contend with- such as restricted travel. This affects me as I must commute from home across Manchester to attend lectures and workshops. As a student, this makes me feel slightly unsafe, due to the long and strenuous nature of my commute. However, the University of Salford is helping combat this, due to the fact that we are following a “blended” learning path, of both online and face-to-face learning, which still gives ample time with our tutors and other members of staff and classmates; I truly believe this is paramount to the student experience, especially when I will be attending the “epicenter” of knowledge within my pursued course, with session leaders that are putting our safety and knowledge above all.
The student social experience is also being hindered by the outside world, due to Covid-19. We are currently prohibited from being in social groups of more than six individuals, which proves to be a challenge for making friends out of the people we will be learning with over the coming years. However, a way I have been combatting this aspect is using social media platforms and finding group chats and groups to join, on Facebook, for my course and have made friends with such diverse and amazing people.
Although current situation is inhibiting the experience, my excitement at starting university is unwavering. Even with the world around me changing all the time the prospect of starting my learning journey with the University of Salford is proving to be enticing, thrilling even.

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