2020 has been a strange year (to say the least!), but the start of September can mean only one thing – the start of the academic year. My last academic year. Final Year. It’s so weird saying that, but at the same time it’s also something I definitely need.
Back in March, a long six months ago, I was living in Germany on my year abroad. I was living independently, working, earning my own money and generally having a great time. For obvious reasons, that abruptly came to an end and I was on a flight back to London. I luckily got home a week before the UK lockdown started, and since then I’ve been at home with my parents. I was very lucky and hugely grateful to have made it home and to have been able to spend lockdown with my family, as I know so many people were stranded in other countries or living alone.
However, apart from my year abroad work placement continuing online until the end of May, and my research project for the year due around the same time, after that I didn’t have a purpose. I had no job, despite applying to various places, no studying to do, no holidays or social events either, so I didn’t know what to do. I was lost. The only thing that was next in my calendar was the start of uni after the longest and strangest summer holiday ever, but that was still months away.
But now, those months away have become only a matter of weeks or, actually, days away. With the time now almost upon me for final year to begin, I definitely have mixed emotions.
I’m nervous about being in a classroom again and being an actual student. I haven’t studied properly since June last year before my second-year exams. Also, I’m scared about it being the last academic year I’ll ever do. This means job hunting has to begin soon, which is a scary prospect in general, let alone considering what graduates this year have gone through.
I’m excited to see people again, some of whom I haven’t seen since before my year abroad, albeit in a different way than before. I have some very overdue catch-ups to organise! I’m hopeful that at some point during this year, the social aspect of uni life will be able to resume properly so I can meet new people and old friends in person, rather than over Zoom.
I can’t wait to get back into sport, if or when that will be allowed. I’ve always loved being active, particularly playing team sports, which only grew at uni when I found Korfball. This has been something I’ve missed so much and the possibility of maybe not playing this sport at all this year is really hard. I’m hoping so much that eventually a time will come when we can start training again.
The last lingering feeling I’m still having is anxiety. For the last six months, the word on everyone’s lips has been ‘pandemic‘, and we’re not out of the woods yet, so I’m worried about life getting back to ‘normal‘. As much as I want normality back, I want it to be done carefully.
I need final year to get me into a routine, to have something to do, to give me the motivation that I have been lacking for so long. Hopefully I won’t feel so lost anymore! This is why I need final year, as weird as that sounds, so I can re-establish my confidence. I will regain the independence that comes with living away from home, as well as the reason to get up and do something every day.
So, my thoughts on final year are mixed, but I know I need it, and it will be good for me. I’ve missed university life and, even though it will be different this year, I’m looking forward to what’s to come.