Living through the Coronavirus Pandemic as a Second Year Student


The coronavirus pandemic has been unavoidably disruptive to everyone across the globe, with one particularly affected group being university students, but why not make the best out of a bad situation?

If, like me, you’ve had your second term at university cut short, with your third term looking unlikely to go ahead at all, then you’ll be all too familiar with the mass mourning and heartbreak among students who have had to travel back home to quarantine with families that they were probably eager to get away from in the first place. Especially for first year students, who were about to experience the bliss that is post-exam season in the summer sun without any of the responsibilities of first and second term, or final year students, whose last few months of university life have been cruelly taken away from them, this period will feel particularly unfair. As a second year student, I admit that I have it better than some, but in light of trying to put a positive spin on things, here are some reasons why coronavirus might just be the best thing that could have happened to you at university.

  • No exams (or, at least, alternative online exams that will inevitably involve less late-night library cramming sessions and more sitting around in comfortable pyjamas waiting for the internet to finally load).

  • Coursework deadline extensions. It seems slightly incongruous considering that being stuck inside all day without anything else to do might actually be a perfect time to finally tackle those essays that have been slowly piling on top of you, but I for one am grateful that I can spend at least the first couple of weeks self-isolation with Netflix rather than The Complete Norton Anthology of English Literature.

  • Finally being able to tackle that endless to do list that seems only to replenish itself as soon as you’ve reached the bottom of it. Whether this be job applications, non-essential reading that you promised you’d get round to once everything else was done, or simply finally giving your room the deep clean it so desperately needs. Without the tempting procrastination of being able to leave the house, surely now is the time to face it head-on.

  • All the money you’ll (hopefully) be refunded for the end of year events that you couldn’t really justify buying tickets for but did anyway in order to save face among your peers.

  • Not having to deal with your housemate’s late-night shouting and endlessly neglected washing up and instead retreating to the relative peace and quiet of your family’s mid-morning shouting and partially neglected washing up.

  • Binge-watching all the TV shows that you were binge-watching before but without any of the guilt or negative consequences that came with it.

By no means do I wish to undermine the seriousness of this virus, nor underestimate the drastic changes it will bring to all of our lives, but it now feels more important than ever to look on the bright side of things. The blanket media coverage might feel like a good thing to be glued to right now, but maybe once all of this is over and we can return to our normal lives, you’ll wish you spent your time inside doing something slightly more productive than worrying about the fact that you were not being productive. So, wash your hands, stay inside, and remember what it feels like during deadline season when you haven’t slept in three days and are starting to forget why you signed up for a university degree in the first place- nothing can be worse than that.