By Lily Sheridan Power, Third Year, Anthropology
The Croft Magazine // As many of us approach our final months at university, Lily reflects on how the pandemic has affected her feelings around graduating.
Since starting university, I’ve met lifelong friends, fallen for a new city and learnt a tremendous amount (even how to use a tin opener). But with uni drawing to a close, I’m now being asked: ‘what are you going to do next?’
I’ve been cocooned by the regularity of terms. Even at the peak of summer, I knew come September, I’d be a student again. But this year, my student discount will be terminated, my LinkedIn profile updated, and I’ll enter the ‘real world’. While this isn’t plain sailing in normal circumstances, a pandemic certainly hasn’t made it any easier.
Juggling dissertation stress, online learning and graduate applications is exasperating. Although I am fortunate that I know what I want to do, I’m entering a fiercely competitive job market. My CV will land in an inbox alongside graduates from last year, and this year, and those recently made redundant. It’s challenging to stay motivated while receiving a plethora of rejection emails with the words ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘an unprecedented number of applicants’ ringing through them all.
Besides the obvious negatives of Covid, I’ve been robbed of interactions only possible between seminar friends who share resentment for the same tutor. Not to mention pub trips with course-mates and holidaying with housemates.
Although the pandemic has tainted my uni experience, I refuse to let it be ruined
Now in my final term, it’s difficult not to dwell on how different it would be if things were normal. I’m having to accept I won’t have a graduation ceremony, let alone the opportunity to commemorate my uni experience at the pub. Third year should centre around celebrating, but instead, we’ve been left to mitigate our government’s failings alone.
And while it’s important to acknowledge it has been hard for us all, I’m lucky compared to others. I’m in good health, which is something to be extremely grateful for at the moment. Even more specifically in terms of university life, I know I’ve still had a relatively easy ride compared to first years.
Although the pandemic has tainted my uni experience, I refuse to let it be ruined. Alongside making great memories, I’ve fallen for Bristol. Before uni, I didn’t know anything about the city and I’m now planning on staying here next year.
I would like to remind my graduate self (and others) that there is mounting pressure to have your life sorted in your twenties. It will begin to feel like a race against time, but push back against this feeling. As long as you are willing to learn, explore and stay inquisitive you will find your way. Run your own race and even then, don’t run. Walk. Stroll even.
Featured image: Epigram / Rosie Angel-Clark