By Megan Shinner | Advice Editor
COVID-19 has affected our lives in more ways than we could have possibly predicted. From doing the food shop to walking the dog, our daily tasks would never be carried out the same. When this thought is placed into the context of starting university, it can seem quite overwhelming. New home, new city, new people, and a big new chapter in your life!
Mentally preparing yourself for a new post-lockdown experience can be difficult, let alone in unforeseen circumstances.
Just because we’re facing a pandemic, however, doesn’t mean the freshers university experience we had all imagined must be completely chucked out of the window.
From being a Fresher in 2020, I’ll share with you my experience of starting university in the unprecedented times and how it really doesn’t have to be so different from what you expected.
My first concern was where my new home was going to be and who I was going to be living with.
Society socials were being cancelled or postponed and I knew meeting people would be more difficult and I’d have to do more than just join a few Facebook group chats. Believe me this was a great start as I managed to meet 5/8 of my flatmates before I even arrived! When I arrived my flat and I had a takeaway and just got to know each other over the weeks by propping our doors open, walks, shopping trips together and having drinks in the kitchen.
My biggest tip: a pack of cards can go a long way! We spent hours playing card games and it’s a great icebreaker teaching someone a new game.
Even when people on my course felt hard to reach, it was comforting to know I was able to create a support bubble in my new household in such a difficult time.
With the relaxed restrictions this autumn clubs and bars are now fully open.
Going to bottomless brunch or simply hitting the closest spoons after a hard day is a great was to strengthen relationships and meet new people.
Some of you, however, may not be comfortable with eased restrictions, which is perfectly okay!
Cardiff is a huge city filled with parks, lakes, and gardens to explore. My favourite places to spend my daily walks were definitely Roath Lake and Bute Park. Other great places to visit are Cardiff Bay with its stunning views and St Fagans for some peaceful wandering around Welsh cultural history.
What about the actual classes? I hear you say. Zoom is not all doom and gloom!
I could never complain about rewinding my lectures as many times as need be or waking up 10 minutes before an online seminar was about to take place.
However, in-person seminars were fantastic and I’m glad university teaching is returning a lot of its classes in-person with safety measures in place.
If you bring some open-mindedness along with you, you can make the best of a bad situation and really improve your post-lockdown student experience!