Young women playing cards
Rummy is a favourite in our flat!

Last September I began university in the middle of a global pandemic! I had romanticised this step into a coming-of-age movie: wild parties, reinventing myself, and possibly a flash mob or two! If these dreams were improbable before, Covid-19 made them impossible. My university experience was now online lectures, my 7 flatmates, and a daily walk. To make matters worse, we tested positive for the virus twice in one term and thus quarantined for 4 out of 12 weeks.
The quarantines were cramped and slightly awkward, as the first began within days of arriving. Card games were our saviour! We quickly found that a game of rummy or spit could pass a couple of hours whilst inadvertently getting to know each other. The games became progressively more competitive with forfeits like shots of hot sauce. Our days were now filled with cups of tea, chats, and cards in between lectures, and our evenings were spent playing board games.
Once the quarantine had lifted, I could finally attend seminars in person and meet course mates for coffee and a walk. However, the competitive card games continued. During the day it offered an excuse to procrastinate university work and head to the kitchen, at night we introduced inter-block competitions.

Of course, I wish that my university experience hadn’t started in the middle of a global pandemic. There were so many amazing opportunities and interesting people that I have missed. Although, these consequences are minor in comparison to what many have faced during this time. Instead, I would like to focus on the positive impact that the virus had on my university experience. For instance, the cramped conditions brought different cultures, faiths and politics together, which in turn challenged preconceptions. There is a tendency to build friendships with those with the same upbringing or beliefs, which enables a more isolated and insensitive society. For me, card and board games instigated the connection between my flatmates and built life-long friendships with those I would have ignored in a normal year. 

-Topaz Brownhall
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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