It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
I had such big plans for this semester. As Senior Student of Regs, I was looking forward to the biggest event of the year more than anyone. I was ready for a night of drunk and disorderly behaviour – and that just from the committee. I had my outfit picked out (a black and white tux, very in this ball season) and my Monday wiped free of commitments in preparation for my hangover. All I wanted was to go to the ball.
Instead, I spent the night of hall ball at my dad’s little flat in Middlesbrough. I love my home, truly, but I’ve never been more disappointed to be back in the north in my life. All the parmos, chips and garlic sauce in the world couldn’t console me. Instead of twirling around the dance floor (probably voguing to Madonna), I was writing notes for MT4003. I don’t even mind Group Theory that much (thanks, Nik!), but this time it just didn’t pass the vibe check.
I’m lucky of course, to be so upset about something so frivolous. Across the world, millions upon millions of people are stuck in quarantine, bored and disappointed but ultimately safe from the coronavirus. As an at-risk individual with a nurse for a mother, I’m only too aware. I’m desperately grateful to everyone for making the necessary sacrifices to keep us all safe, but the loss of my social life (what little of it existed) still sucks.
Another thing I’m thinking about is the speed at which coronavirus forced the UK into a ‘new normal’. Back in March when I had to postpone the hall ball, I could hardly believe how fast the world changed. In the space of a week, I went from buying some danish krone at the Post Office to cancelling my flight because Denmark was shut. The day after a committee member asked me to cancel a party and I shrugged it off, I was forced to shut it down by the closure of the Union, following new government advice. Between the lunch and dinner of my last Friday in Saint Andrews, I booked a train ticket so I could go home – before I couldn’t.
It just goes to show that life really can change in an instant.
My coronavirus resolution is to stop taking things for granted. Believe you me, I’m going to savour every last little second of next year, when (not if) I finally get back to St Andrews. Every toastie bar toastie, every Pablo, every bad bop and ball – I can’t wait. When things finally get back to the ‘old normal’, I’ll be ready.
There’s been an upside to quarantine though – I’ve seen more of some of my friends via Zoom than I might have in real life! I’ve got a bunch of funky backgrounds to use too; my favourite is the ‘This is Fine’ burning house. Video calling is changing the way we keep in touch – for the better, if it helps us stay together when we’re all so far apart. Other news… I’ve bleached my hair, my dad is learning the keyboard, and I spend most of my time sleeping.
Oh, and I became the Head of The Record, too.
Quarantine isn’t easy, and it can be lonely and boring at times. To help cheer you up a little, this is the first in a continuation of the series started by my predecessor, Starlings in Quarantine. If you want to share your stories of lockdown, hit me up.
The Record is still taking submissions for Starlings in Quarantine. Message The Record on Facebook and we’ll share your story.