Thought for the week – 22 September

Reading time: 2 minutes

This week Professor Mona Siddiqui, Assistant Principal Religion and Society, reflects on the return of some of our students.

My youngest son is studying at Edinburgh and went back to university last week. In spite of all the uncertainties around teaching and student life right now, he was excited. Having secured a large room in a lovely flat, he stuffed the car with suitcases, his Xbox and as much soft furnishings as he could squeeze!

I felt relieved and happy for him. The last few months of living with lockdown and other restrictions have been difficult for many of us but I think we underestimate the impact on the younger generations. Whether its school, college or university, or even their first job, many young people have felt deflated, struggled with isolation away from their friends and are unsurprisingly anxious  about the future.

There is both frustration and restlessness in the face of Covid-19, even as we’re bombarded with creative ideas to keep us mentally and physically active. But for many younger people, even those who are in higher education or their chosen career path, the long-term consequences of a global pandemic are sobering. It seems to me that while we all try to keep a sense of purpose and routine alive in our lives, we should do more to help the young, many of whom are experiencing a particular kind of vulnerability. Not all anxieties are visible and universities can be the most inspiring but also the most lonely places. Now more than ever, the moral imperative is that we foster an inclusive and empathetic community of staff and students which looks after the young and the old. In so doing, we will all play our part in creating a more hopeful future for everyone.

Photography: Paul Dodds