FIRST-YEAR university starter Georgia Scott has spoken of her worries about the continuing uncertainty around students returning home for Christmas.

Yesterday the National Union of Students and the University and College Union has called for students to be allowed to continue learning online from home after Covid-19 outbreaks have hit almost half of UK universities.

The 18-year-old from Royal Wootton Bassett has just finished her third week studying English and drama at the University of Exeter.

She said: “If I couldn’t go home I'd be devastated because it has not been the university experience I expected and then being forced to stay in a situation that I didn’t expect would be really hard.

“Christmas is a special time, particularly new year for our family. We have a party with fancy dress, and it’s a chance for us to say well done for what we’ve done and look forward to something next year.

“Taking that away really would feel like the worst end to a really rubbish year,” said Georgia, who is living in halls of residents alongside four other students.

When she moved in only one of her parents could help at a time.

“You had to collect your keys at a certain time and arrive at a certain time,” said Georgia. “

My parents were outside most of the time while I was sorting everything out. And then I went outside and they had to leave. It’s a horrible moment anyway but it just felt even more detached.

“It almost felt like I moved in with a whimper not a bang,” Georgia added.

The fresher is completing most of her studies at the moment through online sessions and said the experience has been very different from what she expected.

“I genuinely thought I wouldn’t remember my first week – that I would feel rushed and I wouldn’t have time to pick up the phone to call my mum or sister. But it was a very slow freshers’ week,” Georgia said.

She added

there had been a lot of time spent alone in her room.

“At the moment it’s a lot of waiting for Teams meetings to start,” she said


Georgia added meeting other students is quite daunting.

“I find it easier to get to know people in person,” she said. “Messaging someone I saw briefly on a Zoom call to ask if they want to meet up is a lot more stressful.”

“I do think I’ve missed out on the normal university experience but I don’t want to look at it like that.

"I think next year is going to be even better – I’ll have my freshers' next year and I’ll have the wisdom of this year.”