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Day in the life… First year History of Arts student

Rather than waking up at midday with a pounding headache constantly reminding me of the numerous vodka lemonades I drank the night before, instead, I awoke at home to an alarm set for 10 am with a new addiction to Shonda Rhimes’ Bridgeton.

After having a shower and getting dressed I went downstairs with SZA’s ‘Good Days’ playing like an old folk tune over and over again in my head (though I’m not complaining) to indulge in some toast heavily christened with Lotus Biscoff spread. Unfortunately, my morning was interrupted by the staple of an undergraduate student’s academic life during Covid – the classic pre-recorded lecture.

As per usual my lecturer presented multiple fascinating and beautiful pieces of artwork. I was told by the previous year’s lecturer to go see them up close through an art historian’s most important tool, a gallery. At this point, I could only muster a laugh at the irony. After watching a couple of Netflix styled lectures, I tried to complete my readings.

Since I don’t have anything academic or even university related in person, I thoroughly look forward to my online tutorials. It’s become a game now between Collaborate and me. I guess how many people will show up to my tutorial and the software either proves my prediction or disputes it.

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Numbers mostly range from two to eight, but people often swiftly leave the chat when there’s talk of breakout rooms.

My degree requires a lot of discussions and debates over topics such as ‘does the meaning of a plain piece of paper change when writing is added?’ and ‘can socio-political context change the meaning of an artwork?’ so one can only imagine the characters I meet and the range of opinions offered.

We have the inevitable old Etonian residing somewhere in Pollock Halls who quite clearly enjoys debating, the student who insists on only using the chat function to type their replies. Thus leaving the rest of the group waiting two minutes longer than they should have during their lunch break.

And finally, the saddest amongst them, every week someone new convinces themselves to answer a question. They click the hand button and finally unmute their mic after seven weeks of silence only to be interrupted by bad Wi-Fi or the reminder that they have not done the reading.

Normally, by 6 pm I would be heating up some type of dahl that was frozen in a rat-infested kitchen. Alternatively, I call a friend to try and predict Boris Johnson’s next move and pitifully laugh at Donald Trump’s army of ‘Proud Boys’.

Then go to sleep after watching another gripping episode of Scandal and wait for the day when it’s legal to travel back to Edinburgh.

Image: Ece Kucuk