What it’s like getting a coronavirus test at Sussex University

If it means going home for Christmas, then so be it

To put it bluntly, this whole term has been tough. Very, very tough. With the spread of coronavirus changing daily life as we know it, despite the fact that a vaccine is finally on the horizon, all Sussex students are advised to take a test if they are planning on going home for the winter vacation. As for the lateral flow tests provided on campus, students must take two, and have them both test negative. 

Having a swab go in your mouth and up your nose on not one but TWO occasions is not exactly the most pleasant feeling, but if it means being able to go home and start enjoying the festive period, then so be it. But what happens when you get tested at Sussex Uni? Here’s a rundown:

It’s pretty chilly

It’s December, so campus is freezing cold, grey and completely covered in leaves. What’s new? The testing site is located at the sports centre on the edge of campus (not Falmer sports complex).

A queue – how British

Given the big desire to just go home and forget about this year, there’s a large number of students who want to get tested. Given it’s Britain, we all stay in a queue, although two-metre distancing remains inconsistent. Volunteers will ask for your name and your Student ID – so remember to have your student card on you.

As part of the mass testing, you can’t take pictures of people getting tested – so no photos from here on.

You need to register with your name, address, and extra details like whether it’s your first test or if you have symptoms.

Getting the test

You need to swab your tonsils at the back of your mouth. It’s not exactly the nicest feeling in the world, but it’s over pretty quick. Then you swab your nostrils until you feel (quote) “uncomfortable”. I did see someone doing this the wrong way around. Gross.


You walk, or take transport home, waiting for your test result. Here is where the nerves really start to kick in, with the prospect of two weeks of isolation beginning to feel like a reality.

The Result


With any luck, you’ll never have been so happy about failing a test. Happy holidays and remember to get tested!