This piece is written by student Elijah Kalambayi
University has been one of the most glorified locations throughout the lives of numerous youths in high school and college and some even before then. It appeared to be second to highest achievement a person from African descent could have, just below being a doctor or lawyer. Succeeding this is a marriage that falls in third place. University was, is, and probably will always be a big deal to many young people simply because of its status and the ability for young people to use their experience to build self-confidence and independence.
Preparation for university is preparation like no other. Students in college and high school stress trying to meet deadlines which were often extended to make lives easier. All that fuss over this revered place in university. The older they get and the closer they get to university, the more stories they are told about how exciting this place called university would supposedly be.
The pandemic worked in the favour of most college students thinking they would get predicted grades which for some would be better than doing the exams. However, this wasn’t the case for all. The pandemic spared the class of 2020 from the pressures of exam season and deadlines. This happened to be like a golden ticket into university just to get the shock of their lives. The predicted grades had turned out to be one of the most scandalous event of the year. This is because of how the grades were awarded. In some poorer areas of the UK, the grading was so low, that it felt like a stab in the back. Of course the reasons and politics behind this is whole other story.
According to many first-year students in 2020/2021, living as a fresher during the pandemic is one of the most deceitful experiences ever. This includes aspects from the abandonment of freshers’ week to the dreadful online lessons. This has left many freshers and other students in the other years questioning why they are paying £9,250, a year for a course which is worth about £75 in the student’s opinion.
This has led the majority of the freshers to feel ‘ripped off’ by the universities because of this. The musical chair-like lockdown systems does not make things any easier leading to university students reacting in various ways. Such as some trying to make their money’s worth by partying illegally. Others, as weighted up protecting their physical health and mental health and made decisions to prioritise their mental health. COVID-19 has badly affected the mental health of students. Can they then be blame for breaking the rules?
This has resulted in the university experience not being as glorious or as the adults praised it to be. It was left to students themselves to do something outside of university to make it better for themselves one way or another. However, this does not mean university is a horrible place, but it is a place that works for some and not all. At the end of the day, it is an experience that would not be forgotten, simply because of the opportunity students are privileged with ie. discovering more about themselves.
Elijah ‘Elie’ Kalambayi is a full-time student who is also an upcoming musician who is involved in charity organisations such as Creative Change (Music Director), Chord as well as Youth Charter which built the foundation of who he is today. He is currently consultant for future creatives at MediaCom.