January

Letter to a Third Year

Student Communications Ambassador Georgia reflects on life as a third year student, studying for the first time in a lockdown scenario and offers her thoughts on how to get through it.

Dear Third Year Student, 

I know the news of yet another lockdown will have made you anxious, uncertain and wary about the effects on your academic life but things will get better, I promise. Studying in a lockdown is not ideal for any student, let alone a third year soon to go out into the world, but I’ve been there, I’ve graduated, and I’ve started a new course. This will be you next year, either in postgraduate study, an internship or a graduate role. If you keep working and searching for opportunities, things will start to look up. This may sound easy for me to say but let me take you back to March 2020:

I was a third year undergraduate at Bath Spa looking forward to applying for my MA and a final celebration of a Bath Spa graduation ceremony. Then the news came that the country would be going into a lockdown. I was in Wales on holiday with my family at the time. I remember going for a run on the beach the next day and thinking ‘When we get home, everything will have changed, no more uni, no going to work, no seeing friends.’ It was a strange time and it still is, but if there’s one thing to be said about Bath Spa students, it’s that we’re creative, ambitious individuals and we adapt. So I did. 

"It was a strange time and it still is, but if there’s one thing to be said about Bath Spa students, it’s that we’re creative, ambitious individuals and we adapt. So I did." 

Not just like that, of course, but gradually. I wasn’t sure how to deal with the uncertainty so I made a study schedule to stick to, I started exercising more to get the endorphins flowing and learnt that online seminars were actually possible. There were teething problems, such as connectivity issues and knowing when to speak without talking over someone else but we learnt together, lecturers and students. We kept communicating through email and online tutorials and somehow, finishing my degree felt more and more possible as the days went by. 

I’m aware that my course didn’t require specialist equipment or lab time and for those courses, lockdown 3.0 is particularly difficult. However, I was fortunate to be studying English and Creative Writing which meant all I needed was my laptop, some books and regular contact with my tutors. I felt very lucky in the circumstances. My sister who works full time had been furloughed and was lost without a routine. Yes, we were all locked in, except to buy food, but at least I had my studies to give me a sense of purpose and distraction from everything that was going on. There was however one niggling thought in my mind:

What if I can’t hack lockdown and my grades deteriorate?’ This was a big worry for me for quite some time but then Bath Spa put the ‘No Detriment’ measures in place. In a way, having this extra support spurred me on to work even harder than I had been before.

"Give yourself the time and space you really need to achieve the tasks you’ve got to do and slowly, essay by essay, you’ll have your degree before you know it." 

And it paid off. I managed to exceed my grade average which was never a goal, my goal was to finish my degree successfully; it was more of a ‘cherry on the top of a cake’ moment. I realised I had been more productive working from home and whilst this won’t be the same for everyone, some may come into their own. Find a way that works for you, whatever that may be and don’t be too hard on yourself. That was one mistake I made in the beginning, like attempting to read a whole novel, go for a run and video call family in one day. That’s just not realistic. If you read a chapter of a book, go for a five minute walk and text a family member, you are still doing well. Give yourself the time and space you really need to achieve the tasks you’ve got to do and slowly, essay by essay, you’ll have your degree before you know it. 

Lockdown 1.0 wasn’t perfect by any means, I missed my family, my friends, I missed leaving the house to, well, live our lives! But I got through it, I more than got through it, and, all of you can too. The world will be normal again one day, maybe sooner than we think and you’ll look back at your final year at Bath Spa, not with regret and sadness, but with a bold sense of pride that can be found in any student forced to work in a pandemic. 

You’ve got this!

 

Yours Faithfully,

Georgia (a Postgraduate Student)

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.

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