I’m in my third and final year at Cardiff University studying English Literature and Philosophy. Whilst I’ve loved my time at university, I do question whether my friends and I have had the full university experience.
It’s fair to say a great number of things make up everyone’s time at university, this includes lectures, seminars, balls, socials, exploring, making friends and much more. However, current third years have experienced an inordinate number of strikes over their three years. Personally I have had two semesters where my lectures and seminars have been significantly reduced due to staff striking for weeks on end. Whilst I support the reasons lecturers have for striking, I don’t agree that their fight against universities as establishments should be taken out on the students. After all, we’ve paid for a service that we have not received in full.
In addition to strikes impacting our time at university, we (along with the rest of the world) have had to put everything on hold and completely change the way in which we work to combat COVID-19. Whilst this is unavoidable, it is extraordinarily sad for third years that have not been able to attend their final year balls, final lectures, enjoyed a spring celebrating the end of uni with their friends, and graduations have been postponed. Instead, most people up and left Cardiff quickly when lockdown looked possible. None of us know when we will next be able to see out friends from uni, or whether there are people in our classes that we will never cross paths with again.
I definitely don’t think third years have had a full university experience due to strikes and COVID. But if the sacrifice we have to make helps save lives, I think giving up our grad balls and final farewells is a fair price to pay.