Reflecting on starting university during Covid-19 – OurWarwick
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Reflecting on starting university during Covid-19

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

Starting university during a pandemic has been completely life-changing and completely eye-opening in ways that I never expected. It was never going to be easy – and I knew that. There were more challenges than I expected: more lockdowns, less social life, more determination needed. But at the same time, there were so many lovely things about my first year of university during Covid-19. I’ve been able to make new and wonderful friends; I’ve had some fantastic academic experiences; and I’ve had the opportunity to study a subject that I love, even throughout the deep depths of lockdown. 

Of course, it’s really easy – and really important – to think about the experiences we lost to Covid. But I think it’s also worth considering the things we’ve gained too. I can only speak for myself, but for every experience lost to Covid, I can think of something else that I’ve learnt and gained.

Obviously, we missed a lot of social experiences to the pandemic. I think we spent a grand total of about half a term this academic year not in lockdown. Naturally, this means that I don’t actually know that many people at Warwick. However, it also means that the friendships I have made are incredibly strong. When you’ve locked down in halls with your friends and navigated online learning together, it creates a lot of trust and understanding. Similarly, in one of my other blogs, I talked about my friends and I being able to explore Warwick at the end of Term 3, once restrictions had lifted. Being able to explore university with friends who you’ve only known during a pandemic and lockdowns is a wonderful and actually quite poignant experience: something I won’t forget anytime soon. 

As mentioned, making lots of connections has been challenging this year. Yet, we’ve still found ways to build global networks and push for opportunities anyway – in a virtual world. This summer, I’ve been fortunate enough to take part in two courses, one with the Warwick-Monash Alliance and one currently with the University of California, Berkeley. It’s likely that in ‘normal’ years these courses would have taken place in person rather than in a virtual world, and we would have been able to travel. This would have been fantastic obviously, and I’m incredibly excited for when experiences like these will incorporate in-person opportunities. However, the virtual setting this year has also provided me with opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I was able to take part in both courses, which were back-to-back, because of the flexibility offered by the virtual setting. The pandemic closed a lot of doors for a lot of people, but it’s meant that we’ve had to find new doors to open. 

Starting university during a pandemic has been difficult, but it’s also been a completely worthwhile experience because I’ve learnt so much in the process. There were difficult days and difficult weeks, but I’ve also had some of the best experiences of my life here. In February, I wrote that I don’t regret my choice to start university during a pandemic. Six months, two terms and a lockdown later, I still whole-heartedly agree. 

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

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