I’m so scared that uni will be unrecognisable in September I’m not sure I want to return

It’s not just final years that have tough decisions to make right now

The global pandemic has literally turned all our lives upside down, nothing is the same anymore and we have absolutely no idea when things will go back to normal.

The government have so far failed to give any kind of relief to stressed out uni students across the country. They still have to meet their deadlines and sit their exams despite the cancellation of A Level and GCSE exams. They still have to pay nine grand for this year. For final years, their entire uni experience has been cut short. No last night out, no emotional goodbye with their housemates, it just ended.

But for non-final year students, their anxiety isn’t over, it’s actually just beginning. I go back to uni in September for my third and final year and I’m worried. I have no idea what the state of the world will be in in terms of coronavirus and what it will mean for me and my studies.

Currently, lectures and seminars have moved online, but we all know it’s not the same. If this continues in September I’m out. I know that the virus isn’t anyone’s fault but a lack of facilities and online learning is not the quality of education I’m paying nine grand for. Imagine being a fresher starting uni in September, with an expectation of a normal uni experience, just to find out your entire Freshers’ Week, or first month, or term is unlike you had ever expected. It’s incomparable to the normal uni experience. I never thought I’d say it but I actually feel bad for freshers. At least I have benefitted from years of regular, uninterrupted university education and a normal Freshers’ Week. They may have none of that and cannot know when they ever will.

And for me, entering my third year is just as nerve wracking. I have no idea what uni experience I’m going back to. Third year is the biggest year of my university life – what I graduate with will help me to shape my entire life. It’s my opportunity to give myself the best possible chance of a good graduate job which means I’ll have to study hard. But how can I do that if university facilities are still shut? I’ll have no access to the library, necessary textbooks or a motivating and quiet studying environment. Yes, I’ll still be able to complete my work, but potentially not to the best of my ability which will inevitably affect my grades.

Even if university facilities are open, are they safe enough to use? Libraries and other university buildings will be filled with students from all parts of the country and the world. At the moment, social gatherings are entirely banned unless you’re living in the same household. If uni facilities are open, it puts us all at risk again and could lead to another outbreak which I know none of us want.

Now I know this sounds selfish, but I don’t come to uni just to learn – I want assurance that my social life will somewhat be back. I want to be able to feel my uni city’s full benefits for one last year. I want to be able to make as many memories as I possibly can. Right now, everything is shut including all nightclubs, restaurants and pubs. Yes, pubs and clubs aren’t a priority right now, but there’s absolutely no guarantee when these places will be open again. There’s nowhere for me to enjoy the social benefits of university life for a final time.

With everything except for supermarkets closed, that leaves only my uni house as a place to socialise. But how will that work when some of the rules of lockdown include not moving between households and not leaving the house except for essential travel. Does this mean I’ll be having my whole third year at home in my bedroom? Will I even need to return to my uni city in September if everything is online? What does this mean for the rent and bills of my uni house? I’m aware that I’m legally required to pay my way however none of us expected a global pandemic when we signed a contract. It could see me lose money that I can’t get back on top of repaying thousands for my student loans.

Now I know that none of this is a main priority given the current situation. People are dying and we’re living in a really dystopian and scary world. Students are being overlooked. Final years are both equally livid and disappointed – understandably. But it will also affect students to come and we shouldn’t be forgotten just because we’re not being affected now. So can everybody please stay inside so I can sink shots and spend six hours in the library everyday for another year. Please.

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