Home Again

by Ella Gauci

I n September 2019 I left home for my first year at University — where I joined the millions of other students nervously moving into halls, awkwardly making small talk with the strangers who would later become my best friends. It was supposed to be the start of my new life.

"It was supposed to be the start of my new life."

Then the world seemed to fall apart!

Within weeks I felt like I had gone back in time as I moved back home, bickering with my brother and being told off for leaving my shoes around the house. Due to the pandemic, the newfound independence I had gained from university seemed to disappear overnight.

"My newfound independence gained from university seemed to disappear overnight."

Online lectures and discussion boards replaced the windowless seminar rooms I had complained about so much, and my bedroom was the extent of my own personal space. As the virus spread, the outside world seemed too chaotic to go out into. It was surreal to think that I had once gone out clubbing and sat in rooms full of hundreds of people when it now felt like a dilemma to walk past someone on the street.

As the strangeness of this new living situation began to wear off, I found peace with the loss of the third term of my first year. 3am talks in my university kitchen were replaced by weekly zoom calls and facetimes with my friends. Without the distraction of other people, I found myself actually doing my university work!

Everything had changed, and yet everything was still very much the same.

As the months rolled on, university began to start feeling like a foggy memory. The days seemed to blend into one, and I found my longing for university growing with every day that passed. While I enjoyed the time I was spending with my family - who I hadn't seen in so long - I couldn't help feeling like a gap was being carved out of my young adult years. There was now an empty space which would have otherwise been filled with barbecues, trips to the beach, and trying to carry my weekly shop in two carrier bags. It helped that everyone else was in the same position, and I spent many evenings wistfully recounting fond memories from the terms before.

What I have gained out of lockdown is the sheer amount of time I have been given. Though at times this can be infuriating, it has also given me the opportunity to pursue the goals and projects I had been putting off.

Perspective helped me finally come to peace with this lost chapter of my life. I still have two years ahead of me to make up for lost time. The things I have missed out on are miniscule in comparison to losses that others have suffered from this pandemic.

Even though it isn't the fast paced life that I had become accustomed to, the free food is a definite plus of being back home.

SEE ALSO by Ella Gauci:
My First Essay
Going back to University
Home Again

Ella Gauci is a resident of the village of Kidlington, Oxfordshire. Ella attended secondary school in Oxford before moving up to University in 2019.

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