Arriving onto Campus on your first day is overwhelming.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve arrived on another University campus before, if you’ve been travelling into Manchester for your whole life, or even if you’re using Google Maps as your own personal assistant. Everyone is familiar with the fish out of water look on new students. And when you’ve been at a place long enough, you even look at these new students fondly with a nice memory of your own fish out of water days. It's overwhelming enough starting a new course, on a new campus; without the added bizarreness of a global pandemic.
Today I travelled to Manchester on the train for the first time. It's late November and lockdown number 2 is almost over, and I decided that it was time to venture out of the house and get some experience of the University I have been attending for over a month.
The first thing that took me by surprise was the Waterhouse Quad. I had to decide to overrule my phone and walk through the campus on my way to collect my student card, and it was worth it. After almost a year of the inside of my bedroom walls being the most exciting thing my eyes have seen, the Quad was a sight to behold. If you get the chance, on your first day on campus, whenever that may be, please go down the quad. It is incredible, and after I had started to take some photos, a graduating student came in to do the same. I found it memorable that during my first wanderings onto the main campus, there was someone else taking photos of maybe the last time they would. I must admit when I first arrived on the quad I thought it would be a great place to take some graduation photos and then, as luck would have it, someone – who might have had the same idea as me way back when they first arrived on the quad – came to do exactly that.
It reminded me that I’m only here for a year to do my Masters – less than that now. Everyone has comforted me studying during a pandemic by saying that a Masters Degree is more about the actual work than the student experience this time, you had that during your undergrad, but I don’t think that’s true. At least I don’t want it to be. When I stood, perhaps for a bit too long, watching the graduate take their photos, I was inspired to really make the most of my time here, no matter what the circumstances. Before it is my turn to stand, with cap and gown, in the Waterhouse Quad.