As a fourth year, I never expected to be sitting at home at my desk in my childhood bedroom writing my dissertation as all the days meld into one. Looking back to my first semester in first year, where I am now (mentally and physically) are quite different. As we near the one-year ‘Panniversary’ of Covid since last March, I look back and treasure the time I had at St Andrews while everything was normal. Nowadays, I freak out when I’m watching a movie and see that the characters aren’t wearing masks and I have to remind myself that Covid-19 doesn’t exist in a Netflix rom com.
Of course, some things seem normal. I think we have all tried to create a sense of normalcy as best as we can, from trying to keep a routine to surrounding ourselves with close friends and family. For me, managing the Stand has been one of them. I must admit – it is strange being the first Editor in Chief during a pandemic, but I’m ever so grateful to the most wonderful Deputy Editor, Bella, and the most amazing group of editors and writers who make this paper run so smoothly. (Also, big shoutout to my shinty girls. You guys are the best!)
Like many of my fellow fourth years, I always dreamed of my ultimate year at uni as a wonderful culmination of events to wrap up quite nicely in one big bow (or diploma, hopefully). Am I wrong, or did the dream of doing one final pier walk, this time with a black gown instead of red, and with a diploma in hand on a sunny Scotland day not grace anyone else’s mind? I think many of those dreams have ended a bit, or at least changed significantly, especially with SalMap’s latest email of the postponing of the class of 2021’s graduation. Like many of you, I read the email as soon as I woke up, and felt like I got punched in the gut even though I knew this was going to happen in the back of my mind. I had to chuckle a bit, because I remember feeling so sorry for the class of 2020 last year, and as naive as I might have been, never thought that it could also happen to myself and my peers. In a way, I feel like St Andrews broke up with me, and I never got closure from it, as silly as it seems.
I think that many of us have become slowly mentally drained as the school year goes on and it seems as if there is never anything to look forward to. I had a bit of a quarter-life crisis when I realised that Week 6 was soon approaching and the halfway mark of my last semester at St Andrews was just around the corner. It also becomes harder and harder I’ve found, to check up on people or “catch-up” over a call because picking up the phone post-Zoom fatigue isn’t nearly as enticing anymore.
Rather than thinking about the things that make me a little weepy, I’ve also noticed myself reflecting a lot about my past time at St Andrews and enjoying the precious memories in the moments I had there. From running around on a rainy shinty pitch, to downing a pint at the Rule, or simply going for a walk on East Sands, these are the things that make me want to finish up my fourth year even if it seems like it doesn’t matter anymore (as sappy as this seems). So class of 2021, I hope you’re all doing just swell. And most importantly, I want to say that you’re surviving in some very strange times and doing the absolute best you can. Just know that everyone is riding out these turbulent waves for now, and that there will be calm waters up ahead (regardless of any sad emails that come our way from the uni! Just remember – no email is enough to get us down because we’ve already had our St Andrews experience upended). We are on the home stretch! Stay tuned for Part 2…coming soon from your Editor.