Like all university students before and after me I have spent the last four years working towards my degree. As you will likely know or remember, no matter when you read this, in 2020 Covid-19 swept accross the world killing hundreds of thousands with the UK being bandly effected. On the 13th of March the first case of coronavirus was diagnosed in a staff member. On the 15th of march the University shut down face to face teaching and labs shut down the next day. Not only does this make learning, group work and events much harder exams and all other universtiy tasks needed to move online. Despite this work continued at home and the university planned a new exam style splitting modules into passing exams and mark exams. After being demanded by students and the students union the university implemented a "safety net" meaning students that pass their modules cannot get a lower mark than previously awarded. This may all sound a bit drab and annoying but what was really the hardest bit? No late night revision at the library with friends, no pub after a hard exam and worst of all the unemphatic logging off after your last exam, nothing to do anymore, no summer to enjoy just a bedroom with nowhere to go and anyone to see.
Months pass given the pushed back release of grades, the years of work and weeks of worrying have lead up to this moment, these next few seconds at 2pm on the 21st July determine the rest of my life. After what seemed like years of apache server errors I finally connected to the plain text HTML page displaying a degree classification: 1. Of course with that i'm happy but after being in education for 18 years and earning the highest classification available at a russel group university you expect some godly intervention not a 1 written in plain HTML sat at home in your pjamas unable to celebrate. I should be thankful for what i've been able to achieve and the people who helped me but its hard to ignore this is it, no propper graduation.
Thankfully as my friends and I graduated the restrictions were lowering allowing people to meet and drink given propper steps are taken to reduce the spread. Given all of us meeting up were low risk with little risk of spreading or catching the disease to collegues or parents as we all live isolated without jobs it seemed fair to see eachother for a meet up and congratulations. Finally being able to see people after being locked up is a truly amazing thing and shows the human need for people and interactions. We took a few photos outside some of our key buildings on the 22nd July and i'd like to share them here:
Figure 1: All of us stood outside Mappin.
Figure 2: All of us stood soially distanced outside Mappin.
Figure 3: Me outside Mappin.
Figure 4: All of us stood outside the Diamond.
Figure 5: Me outside the Diamond.
Figure 6: All of us relaxing together after photos.