By Fizal Armed
This year has been the weirdest one yet. Whilst I know that some people have had to deal with truly horrific circumstances and, in some ways, it feels wrong, as a student, to complain, I do feel that our once-in-a-lifetime experience has been snatched away.
For me, going to Oxford always felt like some sort of distant dream and when I landed here, surrounding by the unreal buildings, beautiful college gardens and world-class libraries and tutors, I couldn't quite believe I'd made it. It was better than I ever could have imagined; I instantly made an amazing group of friends, found the work really challenging but also so stimulating and every day woke up feeling like I lived in some sort of fairy tale.
Then Covid-19 came along. All those group hangs in rooms, evenings spent at the pubs and classes and tutorials stopped. Our social lives were restricted to outdoors, eating in halls felt strange with all the social distancing measures, library slots had to be booked in advance and then we were sent home. Sitting in my little bedroom, spending hours in front of my laptop certainly wasn't how I imagined my second year of Oxford playing out. There are so many extra distractions at home, with siblings to look after, family members in and out, work stresses, internet problems and trying to navigate a highly pressured degree without all the resources at your finger tips. I also miss my friends a lot; those tea-breaks were a sure way to offload and deal with the stress of Oxford and now students are having to deal with this alone.
I really hope we can get back for at least part of the term, as I'm well aware, we can't redo this period, take a break and resume later. Fingers crossed!