By Imogen Goulding
Students are all too easily the targets of criticism. After all, with nothing but time to study, how could they possibly bemoan working? But that's unfair. It's human nature to want to do anything other than the one task necessary. That's why it isn't hard to think of a million ways you'd rather fill your day.
But now this natural struggle is coupled with the uncertainty of a pandemic, so it's no wonder students are finding it tougher than ever to focus.
Ultimately, I hear you. I graduated five years ago and still recall the intensity of studying, revising and getting my head in the game. Fortunately, I've never been someone who dithers — even at my least motivated, my mind goes into autopilot and forces me to push on. I appreciate that trait perhaps isn't incredibly common, but make no mistake, university is a gruelling process that tests all of us. I certainly had my fair share of ups, downs and greys in the middle.
One thing about my circumstances and those of students now is that, during my degree, I never had global unrest, political anguish, pandemic scaremongering or nationwide lockdown pitted against me.
For students of every year group, Coronavirus is threatening academia. But I believe it's taking its toll particularly badly on those about to sit finals. Sure, a lack of dissertation inspiration, get-up-and-go and desire to be a slave to the books might've been bubbling up under the surface anyway, but it's sure harder to grapple with in isolation.
While some students may have moved back into family homes, others might be ploughing on in their uni houses. Either way, it's a huge routine change. With no library to camp out in, face-to-face moral support from friends in the same boat or nights out to help you let your hair down, the norm has been shaken up. And that's without even mentioning virtual exams! The studying period before the end of an academic year is one that everyone dreads, though its familiarity brings comfort, and that's what's been lost.
Nobody's qualified to tell you that this is easy — it isn't. But what you can't do is lose sight of your degree now. You've put in countless hours and, critically, want a fantastic job at the end, to make the whole experience worthwhile. So, please hang in there. Eat your way through it, find some decent background tunes to listen to, use films or your daily walk/run as a carrot-dangler — however you tackle it, just remember that your degree is far too important to let a pandemic define your grades.