Coming back to campus can be daunting after the last year and a bit we’ve had. Some may find it an easy return, but some will struggle. For some university courses, there hasn’t been a need for a return to in-person lectures and seminars up to this point due to how they can run. There may be many reasons connected to the anxiety of returning to campus, as what we are living through is something, unlike anything we have ever experienced. So don’t feel that your feelings are invalid or not normal. If facing it all at once seems a lot, try smaller steps.
My anxiety is pinpointed to the effects of COVID, so being close to other students and being in a closed room for a long period of time. Since going back to work in May 2021, I have learnt to cope with these anxieties with the occasional bad day. My main tip is to try and ‘expose’ yourself to what you are worried about and slowly but surely you will start to see that everything is and will be okay.
During my Second Year, my friend, Jess, asked if I would run a social schedule for my degree. At this time, I was at my lowest in confidence and honestly felt that feeling of anxiety was going to last forever. Lockdown had essentially caused me to become agoraphobic, unable to go outside without getting worked up. But it was the best decision I ever made, it got me out of that ‘anxious’ slump as I was gaining my confidence again by helping Jess run these virtual events and led to so many great things. It was all virtual but gave me a space to talk to friends and other students while having fun doing quizzes and playing games. After working on it throughout the academic year, Jess and I were nominated for an award at the university and subsequently won it! It really put into perspective how much work had paid off and that the anxieties I had were something I could work through and talk to others about.
I am currently in my first few weeks of returning to university, here is how my first week went.
Monday: I had two lectures, but onto campus at about 11 am. Thankfully we arrived early as I spent about 20 minutes looking for parking around the surrounding park and rides. Once I was on campus, I sat outside as it was sunny and did some readings for my upcoming lectures that day. I found some of my friends that I hadn’t really seen since my first year as well, so was nice to sit and chat for a bit as well. My first lecture was on Early Childhood Education and the other on Exclusion in and from Schooling, both were so interesting and got my brain working.
Tuesday: I went in for our welcome lecture for an hour so wasn’t on campus too long but got some idea of how Level 6 is going to go and some information on certain routes after university, such as teaching training. After that, I went home and did some more work at my desk.
Thursday: I went in early for my dissertation meeting, I was so nervous as this is something I have been planning to write about since my first year. Once I was in the room and talking, I was fine, and the meeting went exceedingly well, and I can hopefully start drafting my first chapter soon. Then, I had my first Film as an Education lecture and I loved it as it is right down my alley, such an interesting and engaging subject. I am finding the idea of lectures and being in the same room as other a lot easier to the point where I feel okay to take my mask off at some points.
My university also has yellow lanyards for those who wish to still stay distanced from others, in the sense that no one gets too close. So I collected one as I am still wary of others being too close and having it puts me more at ease.
All in all, my first week back at university has been relatively anxiety-free, with a few moments but I had the people and support to help me through.
If you would like to check out more of Daisy’s student tips, go and take a look at her Instagram @daisysjourney_.