Being a student this past year has been a bit like being some sort of pariah. We have been blamed for rising Covid rates in university towns, accused of holding illegal parties and breaking every conceivable rule.
And then there’s the old fail-safe – we’re snowflakes who can’t cope with a few months of life being a bit difficult. All the while, we get further into debt paying for accommodation we’re not using and degrees which we are, for the most part, having to teach ourselves.
I live off campus with five other girls, in a house I am still paying rent for. The university has asked us not to return, but I know that my mental health will suffer hugely if I don’t. I’m planning on driving back to Sussex alone next Wednesday before term starts on Jan 25. When I’m at the house, I’ll only leave occasionally to get food or for exercise, just as I would at home.
Most of my friends are also planning to return, but some are nervous about the rules, and not everyone can drive back so they’re worried about trains.
The constant anxiety is crippling, and First Year is hard enough as it is. I have barely met anyone beyond my household – my tutors, I’ve only seen on Zoom and have had very little contact with.
University mental health resources are minimal at the best of times. Now, you contact the support services and you’re told there is a six-month wait. There is so much uncertainty about how long this is going to continue.
As told to Eleanor Steafel
‘Home working is having harmful long term consequences’
Sir John Timpson, 77, chairman of Timpson’s Shoe Repairs, Cheshire