Comment & Analysis
Mar 12, 2020

It’s Inconsequential, But For Final-Years, Today May Be a Sad College End

Trinity was right to take steps against the coronavirus, and there are far more pressing issues, but today was still a sad day, writes Aisling Marren.

Aisling MarrenAssistant Editor
Alex Connolly for The University Times

When that fateful email was delivered to all of us on Tuesday afternoon, confirming the rumours that lectures would be cancelled for the remainder of term, my initial reaction was one of pure, unbridled delight. No longer would I endure the trauma that comes with 9am lectures – or, as was more commonly the case for me, the guilt that comes with missing said 9am lectures. Instead I was looking forward to “learning remotely” from home in my bed.

However, this excitement soon dissipated as the cold reality set in. I had just attended my last-ever college lecture, and I didn’t even realise it. I felt strangely sad – I had been looking forward to savouring these last few weeks of my university experience, and then an email unceremoniously informed me that my university experience was already over.

The news today that campus is shutting down to all non-residents really was the nail in my college coffin. No more catching up with classmates outside lectures, or holing up in the library for hours. No more impromptu visits to friends’ apartments for tea, or attending society events, or peer-pressuring our more studious colleagues to ditch the Ussher in favour of the Pav.


Obviously, it goes without saying that these grievances are utterly inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. Trinity was of course correct to put these measures in place – closing the campus to protect the health of people around us is clearly more important than keeping it open and letting final years enjoy the last few weeks of their college careers.

All of us know Trinity was correct to put in place the measures it did, but I think a lot of us are sad about it too

All of us know that, but I think a lot of us are sad about it too. Until this week, no one really anticipated that celebratory post-exam drinks in the Pav wouldn’t be something to look forward to this year. The likelihood is that Trinity Ball will be called off, and that won’t be as much of a shock, but it will still be a difficult pill to swallow – particularly for those who expected this Trinity Ball would be our last.

I am keen to stress that, clearly, there are more urgent ramifications to today’s news than simply the freeing up of students’ social calendars – counselling sessions may have to take place over the phone, and the college Health Centre is much less accessible to students today than it was yesterday.

I think, though, that we can acknowledge that there are more pressing issues to be dealt with, while simultaneously accepting that today was a sad day.

As I hurried through Front Arch this afternoon, frantically sanitising my hands while thinking about what tinned goods I would be making a beeline for in Tesco Fleet St, it was in the back of my head that this could be my last time on campus for a long time. Maybe even my last time on campus ever, as a student.

I should probably have stopped at that point, and taken a final stroll through campus. I definitely should have at least paused for a moment, and taken in the view of the Campanile one last time. After all, it’s something I won’t be able to do for the foreseeable future. Instead though, I weaved through the tourists and didn’t look back.

College closing is not the end of the world. Hopefully the coronavirus isn’t either. And, in my last few days in Trinity, I think I learned some of the most important lessons of my whole four years here. 1. Enjoy every day as a student. 2. Enjoy every day as a healthy person. 3. Always make sure you have a few spare rolls of toilet paper.

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