Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

My last few months at Warwick: pandemic edition

Despite my constant attempts at remaining in denial, I can hide from the truth no longer – I have but two terms left at Warwick before I am (hopefully) graduating. While the initial thought of the uncertain future beyond university fills me with a certain kind of dread, before I can face that reality, I have the next couple of months to focus on first.

Normally, I would be spending January in a cha-cha-frenzy, preparing for the Latin and Ballroom annual trip to Blackpool for our Nationals competition, one of the highlights of my university career. Would I be much more interested in going over the quickstep one more time than doing that extra reading for my seminar tomorrow? Perhaps, but this year, this will not be the case. Instead of trading in the books for the glitz and glamour of the Empress Ballroom, it will be the season of knuckling down to complete my dissertation.

This year, I find myself in a very different position

February also heralds many other highlights, including my little sister’s birthday, the rush to find a Valentine’s date, and the true highlight of Pancake Day. Hosting our annual Pancake Party was a tradition developed by a friend and me. It wasn’t ever held on Pancake Day and there wasn’t ever really a reason to have it, but it was always the highlight of our year. It always involved inviting everyone we knew to cram into a tiny student halls room, or my awkward second-year flat kitchen, to consume as many pancakes as humanly possible, then roll down to Neon to party the night away.

This year, I find myself in a very different position: there will be no Neon, no cramming into a tiny room, and my partner in pancake-related crime is currently on a different continent on her year abroad. Fear not – Covid cannot take away the pure joy that is pancakes, and in these tough times, it is heroes like the pancake that we must rely on more than ever. Not too many though, or I might be a bit sick.

Despite that, it would all be worth it once the final submission has been made

My only experience of term three was in my first year at Warwick as unfortunately, the pandemic ruined my third term last year, with the social aspects of second-year facing an abrupt end as I returned home to a national lockdown. However, I still remain optimistic that there will be some hope for my final term at Warwick, but what this entails is anyone’s guess.

Pre-pandemic, as a finalist, I would probably have to socialise less than my first-year counterpart, but rest assured I would be making the most of my final POP! experiences, however they regrettable they may be. Would I be squirrelled away the rest of the time in the library, tirelessly working on my final essays and revising for my exams? Perhaps, but that would be interspersed with spending far too much money in the Library Café trying their various cakes, far too much time binge-watching Netflix and too much energy procrastinating doing any necessary tasks.

Despite that, it would all be worth it once the final submission has been made, the final exam complete, and I can escape university a free woman. Normally, it would be a case of drinking far too much, partying far too much, and waking up the next day in deep regret over my choice of shoes for the walk from my friend’s house to Neon. This year though, it’s looking like a more solitary celebration – though this will absolutely not be stopping me from the pure joy that is purchasing copious amounts of alcohol from Aldi to drink, eating a whole chocolate orange in one sitting and rewatching a guilty pleasure Netflix series.

I still believe there is something pretty exciting about forging new paths in the world

Equally, I cannot wait to celebrate my flatmates surviving their final undergraduate exam season, though the sense of finality is strange. It may not be the case that we can celebrate as normal, but I think getting through a year of university during a pandemic deserves a pat on the back – it certainly doesn’t happen every day. Whatever happens, the question lingering in any finalist’s mind is “what next?”

Though the world we exit university into isn’t quite what we expected, I still believe there is something pretty exciting about forging new paths in the world.

So, it may not be the case that we get a finalists ball (bring out the tiny violin, please), but I still have some optimism that someday, I will be able to throw my mortarboard in the air in a cheesy yet celebratory moment, as I somehow come to terms that my years at Warwick have led up to this moment. Weren’t they an exceptional time?

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