At What Point does Socially Distanced University Stop being University?


Georgie Ellen

At What Point does Socially Distanced University Stop being University?

We’re halfway through term, about to go into the dreaded ‘Week 5’ at Cambridge where students fall ill, depressed and sleep-deprived past deadlines. The days roll into one; I woke up this morning with no idea whether it was a weekday or weekend, an essay day or Zoom day. Is this really University? Where’s the pay off for all my hard work?

A string of recent emails from the University gave no clarity on next term, whether we will be allowed back to roam the cobblestone streets of Cambridge once more or forced into this torturous day-to-day slog of online University. And it got me thinking, why did I want to go to University? Well, honestly, it was for the academic lifestyle. I miss the smell of the English Faculty Library, running from a lecture to a seminar with an hour to do the reading, the joy of always been on the cusp of acquiring new knowledge, making some revelation.

Nevertheless, you can’t separate the academic experience from the personal one. I never thought I’d yearn to be back amongst the garish orange walls of the Magdalene College bar, but it’s a little piece of home that I’ve lost. Crowding into Sainsbury’s (or Mainsbury’s for the Cam students out there) with seemingly every other student in existence, standing side by side trying to contain your *slightly* tipsy laughter as the Latin is read out at Formal, sitting on the floor in a friend’s room sharing stories. These are just as true to my University experience as my midnight stint in the library. Will the next Freshers be able to experience this?

Whatever term that would be, it would be better than this one. I’d trade away all my oat hot chocolates in the Iris café for an hour with my friends, because right now, this is not University.

Instagram: @_georgie_ellen

YouTube: Georgie Ellen