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5 Things I Took for Granted Before the Covid-19 Outbreak

5 Things I Took for Granted Before the Covid-19 Outbreak

by Ari
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As a final year student, Ari was devastated to spend most of her last semester away from University. Here she shares 5 things she took for granted before the COVID-19 outbreak...

As a final year student, I was devastated to spend most of my last semester of university… not actually physically being in University, due to an unexpected global pandemic. It was even worse since I was an international student who wanted to make the most of my final moments in the UK.

Here are 5 things I took for granted before the COVID-19 outbreak...

1. Waking up for 9AM classes


It’s hard to concentrate during Zoom classes that lack face-to-face interactions (read: very easy to fall asleep while watching them from the comfort of your bed). No exciting catch-ups with your coursemates either.

But the worst thing of all has to be the awkward silences after the lecturer asks a question, since everybody is still new to having classes online. Suddenly facing the freezing cold for an early morning class in the Armstrong Building doesn’t sound so bad!


2. Being on campus


I think we can all agree that Newcastle University’s campus is absolutely beautiful and Hogwarts-like - I always feel like I’m in a movie! I now miss the simple things that made life great, like having Subway in the Students' Union or going to Northumberland Street after class.

I had to take on the #ArchesChallenge and Photoshop an old photo instead of completing the Newcastle University tradition of getting a photograph under the Arches when handing in dissertations.

3. Events, societies, and fun times


For many of us, student life just isn’t student life without the social experience of it. I applaud the University and its societies for making the effort to host virtual events, but nothing compares to socialising in person.

I somehow managed to win The Courier’s Article of the Year for the 2020 Celebrating Success Awards. While I was sad to miss out on the glamorous Oscar-like ceremony they usually have on campus, I’m glad that my parents could watch my victory on Facebook Live!

4. Long hours in the Robbo


Ah, the Phillip Robinson library - the ultimate hotspot for Newcastle University students during deadline season. A place synonymous with torturous hours of studying and an abundance of caffeine was suddenly a brilliant 5-star facility my heart yearned for.

Completing my final year assessments at home was horrible; plenty of distractions and unstable WiFi! Luckily, I managed to cope – definitely thankful that the library fulfilled several of my e-book requests!

5. A traditional graduation ceremony


When imagining my graduation for the past few years it has generally been this scenario: wearing robes, a tear-jerking ceremony, receiving my scroll on stage, and happy pictures with family and friends. While the University will hold traditional ceremonies when it is safe to do so, as an international student there is a possibility that I might not be able to attend.

Sad thing is, I previously couldn’t attend my diploma congregations in Malaysia either because I had already flown off to the UK. I ended up doing my own graduation photoshoot in Newcastle and edited in a graduation cap and robes digitally.

I also miss my university-mates dearly, especially since I didn’t get to say goodbye properly to many of them. Luckily, the University will be doing online graduation celebrations to celebrate the achievements of final year students such as myself, and I am looking forward to that!

To wrap it up…

When I started my journey to Newcastle (read about it here!), I had no idea that it would end like this. However, I’m grateful that that most of my time at Newcastle University has been unaffected by the pandemic.

The University staff have been incredibly supportive and resilient through these unprecedented times, giving their all to help students adapt. When life is back to normal, I hope students will appreciate the physical and social aspect of higher education more.


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