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With many colleges starting back after months of being closed, we chatted with some of our ambassadors to see how they are feeling about returning, especially with COVID-19 restrictions pushing many lectures online and causing a drastic change in the usual college social life.

 

Joy

This year is going to be a bit of a let down compared to how fun, exciting, and freeing college can be. I feel lucky because UCC is still running classes in person and then splitting the class on a rota system. So I’ll be half in and half out. I’m really happy because I didn’t want to stay at home away from my friends for my final year. There’s so much to do in Cork so it would be a shame to not go back.

I know so many other students won’t be going back at all this semester and it’s upsetting, the FOMO is real. But my advice is, set up a zoom call with your college friends at least once a month. We’ve been locked inside so long you don’t want to forget your friends. They’re the ones that will cheer you up when you’re not able to go out and send you the lecture notes after a wild night.

Everything really just seems like it’s been shut down. I was actually up in Cork a few weeks ago and I went to the campus. It was so surreal seeing it after seven months of not being allowed to go there and getting sent off home in the space of a day. All the shops, buildings, coffee shops were closed and I got a bit scared, how are they going to treat us this year, like herding sheep?

A lot of my friends who are international students aren’t coming back this year at all and my other friends didn’t even get accommodation, hoping it would all be online. I’m worried that meeting friends and hanging out is simply just canceled. Not to mention all society activities and meet-ups are not allowed at all.

I know that safety is the most important thing and I completely agree- I’ve been wearing masks in work for weeks now so I’m used to it- but I do think a lot about what could have been this year. I think that’s what has been going on in everyone’s mind for the last few months. It’s easy to fall down that hole of an alternative reality but we’re all in this one together. I have to remember that too. We are so lucky to have phones and Netflix and books and lots of space to go for walks. We were always allowed to leave our homes and be outdoors. Next year will be better and we can all start again, celebrate more, hug more, and see if someone is good looking beyond just their eyes.

Please everyone stay safe, wash your hands, and wear your mask over your nose as well. 

 

Chloe

Going into final year, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried. If it were a “normal” year I would be worried (because final year is kind of serious) but given the circumstances this year I’m even more worried. One of the big things for me at the moment is the lack of clarity and answers from the college. Less than three weeks to go until we start back and I still don’t know how much of my course will be in person or online. This is making it incredibly difficult to make any sort of a plan or even just prepare myself for the year ahead when I have so little understanding of what the year will look like. A big area of concern for myself, and many other college students, is deciding whether or not to move to their college’s city or stay at home. It is my final year so of course, I want to be in Cork with my friends but it is so hard to justify paying crazy amounts of rent when I don’t know if I will have any hours on campus. It is a difficult decision to make when my heart says one thing but the price of rent says another. On the topic of online learning, it wouldn’t suit me personally as much as in-person learning. There is a great risk being taken with letting large numbers of students back on campus and this is one of many debates going on in my head when I think of going back to college.

On a more positive note, I am really excited to be going back, in whatever capacity that may be. After so many months of trying to create a routine when everything was so uncertain and constantly changing, it will be so nice to be finally back doing what I love and having a purpose – for lack of a better word-  to each day! Lockdown may have been a great chance to reflect and relax in many ways but after so many months I am really looking forward to being back doing something that I am actually interested in and love doing! There is of course the student life I can’t wait to get back to! Being involved in societies and student politics is a big part of what I love about college and something I have missed so much these past few months! 

As we keep hearing these are “extraordinary times” and to be going back to college during these times is equal parts scary and exciting! The uncertainty and the risk of it all versus the need to be back to something that feels normal is a constant debate going on in my head, but ultimately it is mixed emotions of fear and excitement. 

 

How are you feeling about going back to college? If you would like to share your story, pop us an email here on info@shona.ie 🥰