Graduating during a pandemic

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Graduating during a pandemic

It’s strange to think I have completed a Bachelor’s degree. Not only because it’s just mind-blowing I achieved it, but also because nothing turned out the way it was supposed to.

I was supposed to leave London towards the end of May. Instead, I left on March 16th. Covid-19 had reached northern Europe and Norway, my home country, was closing down. I had no intentions to be stuck in the UK during a pandemic and I felt like I couldn’t leave fast enough.


The decision to leave was made on a Thursday, and I left on a Monday. I went over to my best friend Julia’s house on Sunday to say goodbye. She was also leaving on that Monday, to Australia. We mostly talked about all the time we had lost together. Having only one exam in May we had looked forward to all the warm spring days we could spend together, pretending to do exam revision.

We also talked about how it didn’t feel real. It still felt like we were going to come back even if we both knew we wouldn’t. Honestly, it never felt real. Not even when I was sat at my dad’s place doing my exam in peace and quiet instead of a classroom at City, it didn’t feel real. It’s hard to explain. I did feel very comfortable being home and my head was set on staying home for about six months, but just the idea that I had been forced to leave London so soon because of a world crisis, didn’t feel real.

I’m not going to lie, I was very done with City University and I was very ready to leave London too. Still, the fact that two and a half months were ripped away, still feels crazy. Still, I’m not going to pretend this is the worst thing about the pandemic. I am aware I’m super lucky it hasn’t affected me more. I’m also lucky I got to travel home as I know people who weren’t able to.

So, now I’m more or less a journalism graduate. How strange, huh? I made it.

I wasn’t planning on going to the graduation ceremony anyway (too expensive for a northern Norwegian to just receive a piece of paper), but the fact there won’t be one to bail out on at all is a strange feeling. My final grades are delayed, my diploma is delayed and I haven’t yet seen the magazine I spent six months creating. I think maybe that’s throwing me off too, that I have no physical proof I’ve actually done it. But I have. I actually completed a Bachelor’s degree.

So, what now?

Well, the coronavirus pandemic might just have messed up my chances at a master’s degree, who would’ve thought. Again, I’m aware my struggles are nothing compared to those actually suffering from the virus, however, they are very real to me.

Due to the pandemic, many Norwegian students have decided to cancel their gap year. Travelling is mostly out of the picture, and who knows if you’ll be able to get a job? Therefore there has been a record number of students applying to higher education across the board. I also needed documents from City to prove my Bachelor’s degree. Documents I have not been able to receive because of delays due to the pandemic. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, knowing I might not get in due to reasons that were out of my control.

But, it is what it is and I should just be happy I got to go home, I haven’t been personally affected by the virus except for some minor inconveniences and that I’ve more or less graduated. Life has been put on pause for most of us, and it’s naive to think I would be an exception. Maybe I can continue studying this autumn, maybe not. Anyway, sooner or later someone will hit the play button again and life will go on. That I am certain of.

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