Getting in touch with our 2018 – 2020 graduates

Only a few months have passed since our last Year 13 students graduated to head off to university, but here at school we already miss them, so we decided to get in touch with all recent graduates to find out how their new lives are going.

We asked them questions like: in which country do you live now; is life at university very different from life at school; how has Covid affected this stage in your life; what do you miss the most about school. Here are their responses:

Abigail D. (Colchester, Essex) says that at Uni you have to be “very independent,  there’s no coming home from school having dinner already done for you.” Surprisingly, “university is definitely easier than school.” Abigail really values connecting and networking with like-minded people from all over the world, “ I would also say it’s more effort to hang out with people at uni since everyone has different schedules!”

Antonio L., who is living in Edinburgh, thinks that life at university is totally different: “Definitely! You need to put a lot more work in, in the sense that you are expected to explore beyond what is shown in lectures. You are encouraged to explore and deeply understand new, complex topics by yourself.”

Regarding lifestyle “at university you get a lot more freedom, in the sense that whilst you are expected to attend lectures and do hand-ins, there is no one “forcing” you to do so: you are responsible for your own learning.”

On the question “How has Covid affected your new university stage?”

Diego G. (Marbella) assures: “In my experience it hasn’t affected us that much. Our theory lessons do have to be online but because my first semester is mostly practical we are able to learn efficiently, with the same methods used before the pandemic.”

Miriam M. (Cardiff) regrets that: “You don’t get as much contact with other students, but I think having online lectures is still good as they’re recorded and you can watch them back. Also, I still got to meet colleagues and we do (within Covid regulations) hang out.”

Shreyas R. agrees, he also feels Uni could be better without Covid: “Everything is basically online, which in a way makes it worse since we lose the feeling and experience of being in a class physically with our friends.”

Katie K. (Lancaster) makes good reflections about this new stage: “Life at Uni comes with a lot more independence, as well as responsibility. You have to actively ask for help and take initiative, rather than wait for help to be offered. You have to plan out your time effectively and find a good social/work balance.” 

Covid has obviously had an impact on her lectures too as “they are pre-recorded and most of my teaching is online. This has its advantages and disadvantages, as I can rewatch my lectures as many times as I like, but it’s harder to meet people from the same course (…) University life is less social than it would have been without Covid, but we’ve still had a fun and relatively normal experience.

Ben C. (Manchester) is blunt about his experience: “Covid has killed the experience quite a bit to be honest. You can’t attend anything in person so you don’t meet anyone and don’t really get that university experience.” 

Asked if his university experience is being the way he imagined, Ben says: “No, not at all. Completely different in so many aspects.”

On the other hand, Carmen F. (London) affirms that her Uni experience “is even better. You honestly have the time of your life, as much freedom as you want and make some of your best memories.”

And now that we mention the ‘memories’… “What do you miss most about school?” Well, the answers are quite varied:

Veronika R. (London) is clear: “Seeing certain people every day who you don’t get to see that often anymore.” And Carmen F. has it clear too, “the school trips!”

Kateryna P. replied that some of the things she is missing are: “The international community. I really loved being around such a variety of different people, from different countries, with different mentalities and experiences. This is something I really, really miss now.”

Ben C. realised that “the relationships with teachers is something you don’t realise you’ll miss.”

Katie K. misses “having a timetable to follow throughout the week, as well as lunchtimes with my friends. Of course, I also miss the weather, as well as still having sunlight after 4:30pm…” and Shreyas R. “Mr Wade’s TOK lessons and my whole year group!”

What does Peter-Mika miss the most from his school life? “Of course the sunshine of the Costa del Sol!”. 

While Miriam M. misses “seeing the people I grew up with day in and day out, but in the end, moving to uni is just another step we had to take to carry on growing. School times are times I’ll always take with me at heart.”