Student life - what does it look like now?

(Image courtesy of Unsplash)

Covid-19 has undoubtedly changed every aspect of life as we know it, but for students the pandemic has turned our way of life upside down. Freshers who have joined the University of Kent this year have missed out on so many bonding experiences, with no real need to leave the house, it can be very difficult to meet new people and connect with others, especially now as we have entered our second lockdown.

With the initial 10pm curfew coupled with the lack of events, and not even a Vensday to cheer us up, student life could soon be seen as all academics and not much down time. Whilst students understand the need for staying safe in these uncertain times it’s clear to see that our expectations of the University lifestyle are not being met.

After talking to some different Freshers, it was surprising to learn how little of town or even campus they had explored. With the current climate keeping people indoors, and with the lack of space to meet anyone new, the Freshers seem to be sticking to their halls and not branching out.

One first year business psychology student stated that she is ‘finding it quite disappointing’. Reflecting upon different friends’ experiences in previous years she felt she had been ‘fed false hope’ which ‘is completely different to my reality’. When discussing what Freshers was like in 2019 she claimed ‘it’s just sad to hear what we could have had compared to what we’re actually having for the same price’.

Whilst the student body understand the difficulties everyone is facing across the country, it is unsurprising that they still feel a little cheated out of the real University experience. As we face these next four weeks, things for us will be tough. A good games night or a Come Dine With Me themed week is all good fun in the moment, but with deadlines rearing their heads and a possible feel of lack of support from those around us, it is unsurprising that many have packed their bags and headed for home.

So how can we endeavour to keep the University feel alive? I implore freshers to use this free time to explore our beautiful campus. With 300 acres of ground, and some of the best views of Canterbury a wander around the grounds can really help clear your head! Try and get out once every day. Looking endlessly at the same four walls can feel overbearing and we all need a change of scenery. Reach out to those around you and feel the community spirit that makes Kent, because I can guarantee everyone is feeling as uncertain about the future as you are. Use the study spaces around campus to do you work, this gives you a space at home purely for relaxing and encourages you to get out and about. I would advise trying to settle into some kind of routine, set yourself goals and aim to experience new things this month, whether it be finding a beautiful spot in town or watching that Netflix show you’ve been meaning to catch up on.

Whilst this experience may not be what one first expected, there is still a chance to make this academic year a great one! All is not lost, for whilst you may initially feel alone, know that we are all in this together.

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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