December 30, 2020, by khyx2lyn

And the Journey begins! Starting university with a touch of COVID 19

Article by Sasvi Sithumya Sooriyaarachchi, Year 1 student for the academic year 2020/2021

Everyone considers life a battle of Ups and Downs, Success and Regrets. However, I am inclined to think of myself as one who’s had significantly more regrets than accomplishments. Like many others, university was going to be my new start – a stepping stone if you will – towards a new and refreshed life. I’d already prepared myself for changes and obstacles but I seriously doubt anyone out there could’ve prepared for the absolute chaos this year has been! One moment we were teenagers, young adults anticipating a new chapter in our lives, the next we were thrown into the worldwide inferno of COVID-19.

Despite the strange and unperceived circumstances this year entailed, the university sped on in full power and before long I was a first year in the school of Psychology. Growing up in my country, we are conditioned to think of professors and lecturers as a bunch of know-it-all cranky old people, standing monotonous in front of a gigantic lecture hall with half the students asleep and the other half missing. Basically, to me university meant a solo journey of me, myself and I to the most part. You can imagine my surprise after meeting our school and professors! My first shock came in our Psychology school induction date. The professors all introduced themselves and I remember thinking ‘hey, this is pretty nice’ and Dr David sent a penguin GIF! To say I was shocked would be an understatement. Then I experienced the delightful weekly Tea-Break Sessions where the professors all make time to simply meet and chat with us casually. Add to that our wonderful personal tutors who actually arranged one on one sessions with us to share any grievances and simply to see how we’re coping right now. Even our classmates are great, we are able to share knowledge and help each other so it’s an incredibly supportive community we have here.

What am I trying so hard to say with this? My point is our School of Psychology is absolutely wonderful. This year has been tough, harsh and all round a rollercoaster for us all but I can truly appreciate the effort our school and the university takes to keep us all connected and welcome. It truly has been hard learning online, isolated and having to struggle managing time properly. For us international students who are incredibly burdened with uncertainties of our future, on top of assignments, deadlines and exams, even small gestures of support mean a lot. I am really looking forward to starting university life properly and enjoying life at Nottingham to the fullest the upcoming couple years!

Stay safe and hope to see you all soon!

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