Student Journeys

Why I decided to go to the University of Westminster in the middle of pandemic, or how risking it all led to the best decision I’ve made

As someone who has dealt with anxiety in the past, the idea of attending University was quite terrifying. As my move-out date crept up, so did my anxieties surrounding moving to a new city and another first day of school.

A lot has happened during the past year, mainly regarding the global pandemic and challenges it brought, leading up to the start of my experience at the University. Just before Covid happened, I got a full-time job at McDonald’s where my best friends worked, started to go out and finally started to live my best life. Nevertheless, Covid has crossed all my plans and I was stuck in a place I didn’t want to be again. Working during the pandemic taught me a lot about society, especially at a place like McDonald’s. The most important lesson I had was that I do not want to spend my life working in that industry. It poses no challenges and brings me no joy. I want to help people, but working in this sphere couldn’t fulfill my desires. I was fortunate to be surrounded by my family through the pandemic and even though I felt stuck.

Once it got around to Christmas, I decided that I want to go to university because I want changes. I messaged my friends, and we all agreed that we wanted to go to a university in London together and I was so glad that we decided to leave our small town, as living there made us feel like we were missing the most significant years of our lives, as everyone puts it.

I was always terrified of making a mistake or a decision that would impact my future and could ruin my life. When we are young, we are constantly learning – by realizing that we probably shouldn’t have bought that pair of shoes or gone out; however, the anxiety that makes us scared to do anything also stops us from living and enjoying the everyday experience. That’s why I decided to come to university. I have spent my most formative years worrying that the world is ending and no one cares about it. I was worried that things would never change for women or people of colour; the system would never allow us to succeed and make this planet better not for them but for ourselves.

I am in the never-ending dilemma of whether I should worry and complain or act and do something about it. I’m young, and I enjoy buying these pair of shoes that I know are made of non-recyclable plastic; so why can’t I spend all my money since the world is going to be burnt anyway?

What did encourage me to come to university then? The idea of living in fear and finding solutions for political and ethical issues. I want to find a balance. I want to fix these problems and allow new generations to grow up without worrying about the things that I worry about. Without having to choose between these two thoughts, to not have to choose which issue to worry about most, and to live in an ethical and fair society.

I have only been to the University of Westminster for two weeks, and I was so nervous on the first day, but luckily, I received all the information I needed during the introduction days that calmed my worries. When I first arrived, I didn’t speak to anyone. The very next day the teachers came around and started chatting to us and introduced us to each other, so we could make friends and talk to each other without any awkwardness. It is always awkward at first, but eventually, you find people to talk to pretty quickly. The lecturers asked us about ‘where are we from’ or ‘what are we studying’, which were great conversation starters and were really useful to help us get to know each other. The lecturers were super friendly and didn’t make you feel stupid if you didn’t know something or couldn’t answer a really simple question. In the lectures and seminars that I’ve already attended, I’ve had great discussions and been able to hear other people’s opinions on topics that I would have never thought about on my own and learned about different issues that people are most passionate about. There is such a diverse group of people and beliefs, but there is also a community of people looking for the same thing. Everyone is here to learn about society and how they can help it, change it or know more about it, and it’s a great way to meet people with the same common interests and values as you.

Over the next few years, I hope to join more clubs and interact with more people, and I’m excited to learn and have the ability to pick my subjects of interest. After not studying for two years but becoming more politically aware and active, I want to know more about my chosen field of study. I want to better understand the world around me and also help to have my own positive contribution toward contemporary issues. I would love to ease my political anxiety by a thorough understanding of the issue, to learn what it takes to change something via policy and activism. I want to gain an internship or work experience based on the sphere of Politics and IR to gain a better understanding of what field of work I want to go into. I am also interested in the idea of studying for a master’s, but whatever I choose to do, I am just excited to have the opportunity to learn again and do something new.

Erin Crane, BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations, Year 1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.