I recently finished my degree in some quite unusual circumstances, and so I thought I’d write a post about what it feels like to finish your studies while living through a pandemic. I’ve seen a lot of posts about this recently so I’d like to add my thoughts.
I was sad when I first rushed home from University as lockdown started- and I still have days where I’m worried or sad about missing out on graduation or the typical end of year celebrations.
I completed all my exams and final coursework (including the dreaded dissertation) at home, during lockdown here in the UK. I was away from my friends, and away from my boyfriend. Any end of year celebrations (including a graduation ceremony) have had to be placed on the back-burner.
I couldn’t celebrate sending in my dissertation, or my one-year anniversary with my boyfriend, or finishing that final exam. So let’s be honest, those first few weeks of lockdown I was a bit of a wreck, as all of these major changes and disappointments dawned on me.
However, in this post I wanted to talk about a few positives about finishing your degree under these extraordinary circumstances- something I think other posts fail to offer. I see a lot of posts talking about what we’ve missed out on, but it’s not all doom and gloom.
Because while it’s ultimately rubbish to have this last year end in such an anti-climatic way- there is also a bright side to all of this. I hope this list adds some positivity to your day!
1. It’s a story for the future
I know maybe this one is difficult to see right now, but this is going to be an amazing story to tell in the future.
Lockdown and the pandemic in general are things we will all remember for years to come, and so the fact that you’ve finished your studies under these extraordinary circumstances is going to be an interesting story to tell. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping.
2. Creative end of degree celebrations
When finishing studies normally, we would go for drinks, pop to the pub, or even have a party. However, under the present circumstances all those things have had to wait. I was lucky that just before my exams finished, the UK government allowed us to meet one other person outside- but this still meant our celebrations had to be more creative than usual.
My University is also holding a special “virtual” graduation in August, before a real ceremony when possible. Goodness knows how this will work, but it’s nice to see creative ways to deal with this unfortunate situation.
3. Lots to look forward to
Let’s be honest, once this is over there will be so much to look forward to. Even just spending the night in a different household is going to be a novelty. So it’s exciting to think about all the things we have to look forward to.
If you’re finishing your degree- or even if you’ve just finished your first or second year- the celebrations that come later in the year will be immeasurable.
4. Growing closer to those you love
The pandemic is a strange time, but finishing my degree from my family home has had its perks. I’ve always been close to my family, but we’ve definitely become even closer as a result of the pandemic, and subsequent restrictions.
So while it would have been amazing to finish my degree at University, there have been perks to spending some quality time with my family before I (eventually) find a job and move out.
5. Missing University can be a good thing
It’s never easy leaving your friends or partners after the end of a University year- and especially not when you’ve finished your degree, or you don’t know when you’re going to be able to see them again.
But that just shows how much you enjoyed University to begin with. Whether it was the friends you made, or the classes you loved, missing University shows it was a worthwhile life experience.
6. We have time to focus on other things
Finishing studies during the pandemic has meant we’re left with a lot of extra time before moving onto further studies or finding a job. But this time can be used productively and finishing a degree during a pandemic means we have infinitely more time to work on our own projects- whatever that may be.
7. Time to reflect and work on ourselves
The pandemic has left a lot of us with free time, and in a way it’s a positive thing to have time to reflect before rushing into our next endeavour.
Checking in with your mental and physical health is so important, and I think this situation has made a lot of us stop and think, and even take a break.
8. Spend more time job-searching
The pandemic is the ultimate excuse to spend a little more time searching for a job you really want to do after your degree, or working on your CV and perfecting those interview skills.
While the job market is worrying at the moment, it’s nice to know that everyone is in the same position. If you’re not 100% sure what career path you’d like to take, this is a nice window to do some research and find out your perfect career path.
9. Fostering a sense of humour and camaraderie
For people finishing their degree, the situation can often seem dire. But from poor situations is where we find the best humour and camaraderie.
I’ve found it really great to see people making the best of a bad situation, and it’s nice to know that my University friends are all in the same situation as me.
10. Resilience and determination
I’d like to think that the Class of 2020 will be known for their resilience and determination. Everyone across the world is struggling to come to terms with the rapidly changing situation. But surely this pandemic has fostered in us a greater sense of determination and resilience- two key skills that will come in handy for resumes, interviews, and life in the future.
We’ve had to come to terms with new ways of sitting exams, new ways of communicating with teachers, and new ways of researching without library. resources. So I’d like to think that we have definitely gained new skills during this time- even if it’s been tough.
So to the Class of 2020- don’t lose hope. There will be job opportunities. There will be huge celebrations. And there will come a time when this is a “fun” story to tell. If you’ve recently finished your degree like me, hopefully this added something positive to your day!
Have you graduated this year? Have you found some positive ways to “enjoy” lockdown? Are you thinking of picking up any new skills?
Let me know any thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you 🙂
Happy reading x