Student Blog

Student Blog: General Angst


15th July 2021

It was a complete coincidence that I stumbled across the advert for the FRA back in 2019. 

As someone who is relatively anti-university I thought well, that would get me to where I want to be a year quicker and save me the feeling of slight bitterness as graduation day approaches for all of my friends and I’m still neck-deep in final year projects, being a year behind them. 

So, after somewhat rushed consideration (have never been one to plan things in great advance), the FRA seemed to be the best option for me, an ambitious yet somehow simultaneously lazy student looking for the most efficient route to ‘adulting’ (working a proper job with proper money). As someone who has worked a multitude of depressing part-time jobs at minimum wage, the distant reality of a professional career in which one can grow and prosper and become completely independent seemed a far-fetched dream, but one that could be fast-tracked through this two-year degree.  

Well, fast forward a year or so and add to this a global pandemic and these career prospects gradually seem all the more unattainable.  

The two years that were so attractive in the beginning have become an encroaching sell-by date signalling our entrance into a ‘real world’ that, as a result of Covid, no longer seems the exciting place, full of opportunities that it was before. 

As students it has become hard to consider the past year, and in recent news of lockdown 3.0 the one that follows, as anything other than a total shambles. Despite the lifeline of remote learning and lecturers doing the utmost to salvage our learning experiences, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that these two short years will truly only equate to a few months of what was expected on embarking on the degree. Not to mention the entire student experience disappearing in the blink of an eye with all forms of valuable social interaction becoming literally illegal… 

For anyone who has embarked on this stage of their lives at this time in history, I really feel for you. It sucks. I think we all feel a little cheated. 

We are living through such unprecedented times. We really are. So as students I think all we can do is pull together, stay as productive and positive as we can and hope that by the time that fast-approaching graduation day arrives, the future will look a little brighter than it does right now. 

Returning to this blog post in July 2021, it acts as a reminder to me to remain as positive as possible in times of difficulty and uncertainty.  

At the time of writing this post originally, things were incredibly stressful and the ending of my degree seemed as though it would fizzle out unceremoniously, leaving me feeling slightly bereft. On the contrary, I currently feel completely elated at the thought of graduating next month. 

Having come out of lockdown in April and returning to the FRA in person for the first time in what felt like years was SO needed. Having that face-to-face contact with people I hadn’t seen in months, being able to talk ideas for our FMP’s through with lecturers IRL-was something I hadn’t realised how strongly I had missed. Getting back into the hustle and bustle of Tottenham Court Road, feeling that all-too familiar frustration at the busy crowds getting in my way en-route to the tube station- the normalcies of everyday life that for some time throughout the pandemic I thought might never return, now seemed so precious. 

The last few months have totally proved that the ‘exciting place’ I thought may have deteriorated by graduation, is most definitely still going to be there. In fact, scrolling through job opportunities on LinkedIn and listening to guest speakers in our masterclasses makes it seem as though it is actually going to be considerably more promising. There are opportunities that exist now in direct response to the pandemic. There is always a silver lining.  

Being in the last stages of this degree, I am absolutely still highly stressed- but in the best way possible. My time is spent obsessing over a final project that I am truly excited about, spending time with friends again, planning the most perfect end of summer event for all of us graduating and just generally appreciating the freedom that has returned after so long. 

I am just relieved to feel back in the swing of normality, although a little different, it feels better than ever. 

Echo Shanks  

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