A student at St Andrews University has made a video of final-year students emotionally talking about their pain of abruptly leaving the establishment without saying goodbye.
Third-year Maths student Rob Stack, 21, has submitted HOMEsick for the St Andrews Film Festival, which takes place online on May 7.
The nine-minute production shows footage of quiet St Andrews streets and beaches during the coronavirus lockdown, backed by comments from students whose courses finished prematurely when the Covid-19 restrictions began in March.
All exams are being conducted online, meaning many students, some of whom live overseas, had no opportunity to say goodbye to their friends before leaving.
There is also footage of where the students are staying while in lockdown, with views as diverse as Birmingham, Ormskirk in Lancashire, New Jersey in the US, Luxembourg and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
Rob created the video while in lockdown in his hometown of Preston, Lancashire. He rang seven final-year students, some speaking emotionally about life after St Andrews.
One student says: “It doesn’t feel like any of us have had proper closure. I deserve that time to properly enjoy the last moments with my friends and now I can’t do that.”
While another, on discovering with a friend that their time at university was over, said: “When we opened the email we both started crying.”
Rob, who is set to return to St Andrews in September to study a Masters degree, said: “Hearing all these stories from my friends wishing they had a few more weeks to do things makes me feel grateful because I have another year and can make the most of it.
“It came as a surprise to all of us when we were told we have to leave. We had been kept updated with coronavirus news but none of my friends admitted to themselves that the university might have to be cancelled.
“So when it was, everyone was surprised and it hit final year students the most because there were events they were looking forward to and things they planned to do before they had finished
“I wasn’t able to put all their stories together because they were too long.”
Some of the quotes by students on the film:
It still hasn’t sunk in that I am at home now and everything is over.
I don’t know when I will see them again.
I really wanted to have a proper goodbye with the people I had spent three years with.
I’m just going to miss this tiny town in Scotland.
You never really know what a good thing you have until you lose it.
One of the students from Asia wanted to take a trip to Spain, while another was to host her own Malaysian food event in the Fife town.
“People had so many plans for all this, only for it to end and be cancelled so quickly,” added Rob.
On the Lockdown Film Collective Facebook page, Rob writes: “Made mostly in two weeks of self-isolation, HOMEsick is a documentary short film about how the coronavirus outbreak has affected final year St Andrews students.
“It features seven students who reminisce about their time at St Andrews, reflect on the current climate and express their disappointments in not being able to experience their final semester in the town that they’ve come to love.
“Although HOMEsick focuses on university students, the themes of isolation, loneliness and uncertainty, especially in this current crisis, will resonate with a much wider audience.
“HOMEsick has a simple message that everyone will now relate to: seize every precious moment you have on this earth, and always appreciate the place you have made your home.”
He also praised St Andrews University for the support given before and during the lockdown.
“St Andrews has done a lot to support students,” he said.
“They have sent out so many emails. Even when coronavirus was announced they did really well. They do care about the safety of the students and their wellbeing.
“I live in university-owned accommodation and we don’t have to pay for the rest of the semester.
“And those that are staying are being put into one hall. The university has done a really good job.”
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