Covid-19 has caused a lot of change within 2020 and there is little certainty over when we might return to a semblance of normality. Rising in prominence last March, we, as a student body, began to experience the effects of this pandemic. For the fourth years at the time, they had missed out on all of their ‘last times’ in their undergraduate experience. They missed the final events of the year, they missed their final classes, they even missed their own graduation. Although the virus affected us all, our hearts reached out to them as their university career was coming to a close with no sense of celebration.
As a rising fourth year, I only felt incredible sadness for the class of 2020. It never properly occurred to me that I may lose not just the last few months, but that I may lose my entire year to the virus. We have only been in St. Andrews for a few weeks, but already it has felt like so much time has gone by and all I have to show for it is a sort-of idea for my dissertation. My mind has entirely been on my academics and where I am going after graduation, not on the fact that I may never get to experience another ball, fashion show, or even a night out at the union before I graduate. I am not going to lie in saying that it’s easy to come to terms with. We are not even allowed to hang out with our friends in a relaxed way.
On the other hand, and as I have demonstrated already, it is really easy to allow yourself to get bogged down in the negative aspects of this pandemic, of which there are many. As a fourth year, it really is all about making the best out of a bad situation. First things first, we have more time for academics, to finish our final year on the highest note we can. Following that, we have more time to focus on what lays ahead of us whether it be postgraduate study, a job, or just figuring it out. Being unable to travel abroad with ease means that we have the opportunity to explore Scotland in a way that I think many of us never take advantage. Among other places, the highlands are a gorgeous sight to see and something that is definitely on my university bucket list.
I jumped off the peer for the first time a few weeks ago which was something I never thought to do before. I think, in a weird way, it really allows you to focus on who and what are most important to you, and there is still a lot to get out of our time here.