Home again after one of the "strangest academic terms ever"

Sussex student Jenny Bathurst has been writing for us about pandemic life since lockdown began back in March.

Saturday, 5th December 2020, 6:00 am
Jenny Bathurst

The pandemic robbed her of the chance to sit A levels. But she ended up with three As and is now studying journalism at the University of Brighton (Eastbourne campus).

Here is her latest contribution.

"That was most possibly one of the strangest academic terms I have ever experienced. Although my first semester is not officially over as online learning will continue until the 18th December, it certainly feels as if uni is over until January.

"Having packed a large suitcase and many bags of clothing, tomorrow I will be heading home from student accommodation. Although I am certainly looking forward to returning to the familiarity of home where I have missed so many, it is also very much a bittersweet feeling. Students around England have all I’m sure felt short-changed this academic year, yet of course nobody is to blame. This travel window is designed to keep everybody concerned as safe as possible but that doesn’t stop me from feeling gutted that I have to leave Eastbourne, a place that is beginning to feel more and more like home, so soon.

"The option to go home to my parents is a privilege in itself - of course this is not a possibility that many international students are faced with this Christmas. As much as I will miss this environment, spending the festive period with my family will always be my priority.

"However, this does herald the question of whether deciding to attend university this year rather than waiting until 2021 was the correct decision. And my answer would almost certainly be yes, it was right. Perhaps not right for everybody, but for me, definitely. Due to the pandemic I lost my part-time café job, meaning over the first national lockdown I was left with very little to fill my time. Granted, this was a season in which we were restricted from social activities and much was closed, but that boredom I experienced is not something that I could feel optimistic about for a year. My personality demands me to constantly work towards a larger goal and although this has not so far been the ‘typical university experience’ I have found the challenge a welcome change.

"We have no idea of what the future will look like and how this vaccine will mould 2021, but as it stands I have no regrets about beginning my journey in journalism in such an unfamiliar season. Although university is very much centred around the complete experience and not just academia, providing I leave the University of Brighton with a degree, a group of friends and memories that I will remember for the rest of my life, I certainly won’t feel disappointed with the abnormality that this year has brought.