Throughout my first year in University, when everything was confusing and terrifying – specially as an international student -, PALS was something that really guided me and gave a basis of what I was meant to be doing and how I was meant to be doing it. So, naturally, I decided that I too wanted to be able to provide other students with that guidance.
Even though lecturers and various other organisations do give advice, I think the relevance that PALS has can hardly be found somewhere else. In PALS, you have current students who, last year or a couple of years ago, went through the exact same thing that you are going through right now. This means that, most likely, their experience will be the one you will resonate with the most. Even if the PALS leaders can’t provide any other advice apart from something like “this was a really hard subject”, that alone gives students the support and reassurance needed to carry on with their studies. It takes away that sense of loneliness or failure, both of which have been predominant these past two years due to the pandemic.
Covid-19 has taken a lot from everyone, but a group that is rarely mentioned on the news are students. University is meant to be part of the greatest years of our lives, we are supposed to be experiencing new things and living life to the fullest. Yet, every single component of university life has been either cancelled or postponed. It makes me sad to think of all those who have started their first year of University in a situation like this. That is another reason why I think PALS has been of help this year, this is an activity that has still been running throughout the year and it was an opportunity for students to socialise and meet new people, a chance you don’t necessarily get when attending a lecture online.