By Emma Rowley
I’ve known it for years, ever since I learnt about it. I want to go to university. In fact, for two terms, I’ve already gone. I knew it like a gut instinct, something integral within me. There were of course, many factors involved- the idea of freedom but in some sense of security, the love of academia, knowing this is a stepping stone to a good job, meeting like-minded people- it felt like something deep inside, but I never particularly thought through the specifics of why I wanted to do it.
In ‘lockdown term’, I’ve been spending countless Skype calls with home and uni friends tracing the outlines of what I miss, putting into words what I came to value and why. Wording what I loved made me think of ways to re-achieve the feelings that were granted to me on random days in my university bubble, and, to sound alarmingly spiritual, I found quickly that I was able to find where I sourced my energy, what about university made me happy, and I did things about it.
-I worked out I valued going to talks, so now I watch the Cambridge Union online.
-I worked out I like watching new student plays, so now I watch the online ones.
-I worked out I valued discussion groups, so I pull myself onto Zoom meetings (I would recommend if you’re feeling sheepish to try one from a different university to your own, I find it very much takes the pressure off of being the new one if you’ll never really meet these people!)
-I worked out how much I actually like talking to people, and in amounts and intensities- I personally discovered I like a good long chat over FaceTime every 48 hours and messaging other people in between to feel little points of human contact.
-I worked out I liked the walk to my lectures in the morning, and how much it clears my head, so now I will walk around the streets near my house before settling into work.
-I worked out the people I wanted in my life as well. Who I should venture out and message, and who was better left behind.
I feel I have a new-found power about what I need and want as a person at university, that I haven’t found before, now knowing what I need to generate in order to feel happy and in control of my happiness in a way I haven’t thought of before thanks to lockdown. It sounds cheesy, but I’m learning the values I possess which underlie and dictate the enjoyment of my busy uni days. And now these values have bubbled to the surface, I hope my university days shall be better than ever.