‘You never know what’s around the corner’: A 2020 grad on what it was like being in third year

Grace shares her tips on being a final year student during the pandemic

Dissertation season has struck once again and every final year has begun cramming to get their literature reviews and research done. However, there are a group of students who have experienced the struggling of doing their final year at university during the pandemic. Many of them, who are still struggling since ‘graduating’ and leaving university.

When we were first put into a national lockdown in March 2020, third years reached the final few weeks of their spring term, Covid-19 caused the original March lockdown across the UK and the world. University was moved online, and we were all told to go home. These students experienced a lockdown that wouldn’t see an end until almost August, cutting their university experience short.

The Lincoln Tab spoke to Grace Thompson, a journalism graduate from the University of Lincoln. Grace juggled a 10,000 word dissertation and a documentary project, all during the coronavirus pandemic.

Grace Thompson

‘I only packed enough clothes for a week!’

Grace first found out about the lockdown whilst still studying at the University of Lincoln. “I found out about the lockdown whilst still studying at the University of Lincoln, I was in between lectures when the original email came out that the university was closing and we were talking to one of our tutors about the potential lockdown happening over the weekend,” she said.

“I didn’t think too much of it, I decided to go home to see my parents as I thought it would be a week long lockdown maximum, so stupidly I only packed enough clothes for a week.”

Grace was given an extension for her dissertation as a result of many students falling behind in the pandemic. “We were all in the same boat, and by we, I mean students and staff, so we were all navigating through this strange new time together. Our workshops quickly became online sessions and I had a lot of support from staff who were happy to have a call at any time.”

Graduating in 2020 was “heartbreaking” for Grace. “I didn’t think that my three years at Lincoln would come to such an abrupt end and I’m sure many of my peers feel the same way. It was nice to be at home with my loved ones and work in a ‘safer’ environment. However, after two weeks it started to feel lonely and I started to dwell on not being able to say goodbye to my friends I had made at university or have a moment to thank the members of staff who had supported me in the past three years.”

The only advice Grace can give to students is to “Keep your head above water! You’re working through a worldwide pandemic, and that isn’t easy. You didn’t sign up for this, just remember to be kind to yourself, work hard on your studies but remember to take time for yourself and not feel guilty about having a break or two.”

One of Grace’s biggest challenges was “the thought of not knowing when you’ll be seeing your family again is something that continues to upset me,” she says. “Learning wise, it’s taught me to appreciate the small things that I would have taken for granted a year ago, you just never know what is around the corner.”

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