Having completed her final year of sixth form, Maliha has secured a place to study medicine at the University of Lancaster. Here, she describes what it’s been like completing A-levels amidst COVID, and elaborates on her summer plans and aspirations for once she starts uni this year.
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How has COVID affected your studies so far?
So I think being a sixth form student, and studying science subjects, that’s been quite hard with things like practicals, and learning complex equations and all that kind of stuff. It’s been tricky online – I think you do need some sort of physical support – it’s only there, really, in person. So it has been kind of affecting my studies. And going on to uni – a lot of the medicine programmes, they’ve been taught online. So I’m just thinking: “do I really want to be studying a virtual course when I’ve been at home for like the last two years?”
What would you say that you’re most excited about when it comes to going to uni?
So I think there’s a variety of factors. I think one of the main things is meeting new people. I really like meeting new people and I do anything to just meet whoever, whenever. I think being in Manchester for the past six years, it would be nice to get to know people from other cultures, other ethnicities, all that kind of stuff.
I think also I’d like to get involved in activities and societies that they have there. I’m really looking forward to things like sports, and I’m a huge bookworm.
What would you say you’re most nervous about?
I mean, I think definitely the COVID thing. So I recently heard about something called post-pandemic anxiety. It’s something that I didn’t know about before. With things like domestic abuse rates increasing and anxiety rates generally increasing and all these other things, I think I am a bit conscious that I wouldn’t like to be alone if there is a third wave or a new lockdown. And I think also, with learning such a complex programme, like medicine, online – that has its own disadvantages.
When you start studying, what will your main priorities be?
I think I would try to ease into whichever uni that I go to. I would start off by just getting used to it a bit, getting to know people, getting to know my roomies, and other people in my course, just relaxing a bit – not going hard into the studies or anything. And then I think once I get to know people, I would know the connections I have with different people. So I think generally just trying to familiarise myself with the uni, and then I would look ahead into studying and all that stuff.
And what sorts of things will you buy when you’re preparing to go to uni?
So I think basic stuff, you know. Things like snacks and things that I know I’ll need – a heater, if possible, a load of blankets! I haven’t actually made a priority list yet, which I know I will. But I think yeah, just generally the basic stuff. I don’t think things like TVs or big equipment like that would be needed. I’m the kind of person who’d like to go home, like, every weekend.
Is there any one purchase that you’re really excited to buy?
Probably the cheap stuff that’s available. I think. You know, I’m all for cheap stuff. I’m all for offers and things. And I know Lancaster has a lot of shops around and a lot of things there. So probably just getting hold of discounts and things.
When you do arrive at university, do you plan on attending clubs, societies and welcome events?
Yeah, I mean, it’s definitely something that I’d like to get involved in. And I think, as I said before, like, I really like meeting new people. So any opportunity where I can do that, then I definitely will.
And do you have any plans for the summer before uni starts?
I’m actually planning on starting my own business. I mean, it’s a dream at the moment, but we’ll see where it goes. And that’s just kind of helping people like myself, medical and dental applicants, get into those degree programmes. So maybe kind of seeing what I can do with that. But yeah, I do work for an external organisation. So I will kind of be busy with those things, too.
What sorts of things do you look for in a brand?
I think with regards to clothing – that’s the first thing that I thought of – comfort, I think, is the biggest thing. I do know that expenses do matter. And obviously, people will look at prices. But I think for me, like, if it’s comfortable, then it’s fine. If it’s something that suits my needs and is catering for what I need, then that’s I think the most important thing, obviously, ridiculously high prices are ridiculously low prices will be something that I will look out for but I think generally something that matches kind of what I need is the most important thing.