"Realising just how sheltered my life has been"

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

Saturday, 3rd October 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.

"This week has been one of, if not the most, bizarre week of my life. Of course, in the current circumstances there is not a day that goes by for any of us in which reality seems entirely ‘normal’, yet since last Saturday pretty much every hour of the day feels pretty alien to me. If you are not sure what I am talking about, I have just come to the end of my first week at the University of Brighton to begin a journalism degree at the Eastbourne campus. Despite seven days having gone by I still feel like I’m on a budget holiday where I soon need to pack up my belongings and catch the next train home, but no, I don’t think I’ll be seeing West Sussex until December.

"The university experience this year appears to be incredibly varied across the country, with some friends quarantining in halls and others not even stepping foot out of their homes to begin lectures. Personally, I am in a position which allows me to attend at least one lecture every seven days in person, with my induction week similarly being entirely in the classroom. Many students in England cannot say the same at this time and I feel very privileged to have this face to face style of learning, despite the social distancing enforced. As well as this, I have just three flatmates and therefore we are each permitted to bring up to two others in our communal area at one time, however I struggle to see this working smoothly with some who may hope to invite friends at clashing times. I cannot fault the university’s attempts at creating (virtual) spaces for students to create connections, however I admit to finding difficulty with meeting new people this year, and those I have has been very much orchestrated internally through WhatsApp group chats and social media. Having a piece of fabric covering half of your face is not the most welcoming first impression to meet someone for a coffee.

"I could continue to write thousands and thousands of words based on my experience here just over the past seven days. The opportunity to connect with people not just from all over Britain but around the world has been incredibly enriching and has certainly caused me to realise just how sheltered my lifestyle back at home was.

"Eastbourne as a town has been a pleasure to explore, with such a variation of environments from the long stretch of beach to the bustling centre. I appreciate entirely that I have really only just begun my journey here, and I imagine that after a few months I will begin to take it all for granted, but certainly now I am very much trying to make the most of this free time before revision for my degree begins to take its toll. I am proud of myself for reaching this point at all, which may seem simple, but I knew that I was never going to find this transition easy. There will be challenges, as there is with every big step, but now that I have started I can only look forward!"

• Talk is increasing of further lockdowns in the UK. What do you think of the situation? Join the Big Conversation and have your say on everything from healthcare to how the pandemic has affected you personally and how we make our communities stronger: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/bc-worthing