How starting university during Covid has influenced my degree so far – OurWarwick
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How starting university during Covid has influenced my degree so far

Sophie Frankpitt
Sophie Frankpitt | English Language and Linguistics with Intercalated year Contact Sophie

If you’ve seen any of my other blogs, you’ll know that I was one of the students who joined university in September 2020, in the midst of the pandemic. I’ve just finished my second year, but it’s still pretty much all I’ve written about. That’s because, like others, my experience at Warwick has been completely shaped by Covid-19. In many ways, this has made our university experience much harder. But it has also given us an experience that very few people will ever have. 

Firstly, knowing that we started university in 2020 and then came out the other side is pretty powerful. We know that not only did we get through the year, but actually enjoyed it. Our first year is a reminder that we can make the best out of the strangest of situations. For example, on my friend’s birthday, two weeks after we had moved to university, we were put into isolation – so we spent her 19 birthday people-watching from our flat window. When my flatmate graduated, we had a makeshift graduation in the flat, using our ironing board as a cocktail bar, and making a fake graduation scroll out of some scrap paper. When we tell other people about these things, they are generally sympathetic. Our university experience has been by no means normal, and it has been infinitely difficult in so many ways. But at the same time, all the fun that we did make during the darkest of lockdowns seemed so much brighter because of its backdrop. 

As a result, too, university life now seems much more exciting. We don’t take for granted having in-person teaching, or going to club nights on campus – because we all remember quite clearly what it was like when these things weren’t norm. I know that second years spend a lot of time telling their first-year peers about how different our first year was to theirs – because it seems important that we don’t take everything we have now for granted. 

I’ll end with one final way that starting Warwick in 2020 has influenced my first two years. It’s something that has really struck me about Warwick from the get-go – which is the kindness. I don’t know that I’d have noticed it so much if we hadn’t been in a pandemic, but the kindness during these two years has been truly palpable. My flatmates in the first year were some of the most thoughtful people I’ve ever met. Because we were in such an odd time, we had to be there for each other from the start – even the basics like establishing one another’s Covid boundaries and what our flat rules should be; something that no other year would have had to navigate before. And throughout these two years, I’ve found that lecturers and older students have made remarkable efforts to check in with us, to make sure we were coping with all the changes.  

Starting university during a pandemic has been one of the most challenging, bizarre and best things that I’ve ever done. I’ve loved being able to blog throughout my first two years here, because it reminds me how it all started. I’m halfway through my degree now and moving for my year abroad in about two weeks – so being an 18-year-old locked down on Warwick campus feels like a long time ago. Still, though, I’m certain that everything I’ve learnt so far and the relationships I’ve made at Warwick will stay with me through the rest of the degree and beyond. 

Sophie Frankpitt
Sophie Frankpitt | English Language and Linguistics with Intercalated year Contact Sophie

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