Lottie Doherty. Art History and Philosophy, 1 July 2021.
What attracted you to St Andrews in the first place?
Originally, I applied to St Andrews because it was one of the few places which would let me study both Art History and Philosophy. At the time there were only five universities running the programme I wanted, so I just applied to all of them! I came to visit on an open day and I remember being amazed by the view from the taxi on the drive into town. The town was so beautiful, and everyone I met was incredibly friendly; I knew after that visit that this was definitely where I wanted to study.
What are your favourite memories of being a student here?
My favourite memories of St Andrews all revolve around the beaches. Raisin activities, sitting round a bonfire until late in the evening, picnics and BBQs in the summer, and long walks to clear my mind during lockdown.
When you reflect on your time in St Andrews, how do you think it has changed you?
I definitely think I’ve matured a lot since my first year. I feel like I know myself a bit better and have a better understanding of what I am capable of and can achieve.
Where have you spent your time since the outbreak of Covid-19? What was the experience of virtual life, teaching and playing for you?
I’ve spent the whole pandemic in St Andrews! It was strange seeing the town so empty and quiet during the first lockdown. It’s been inconvenient not being able to walk into the library to search for
books, and online tutorials have felt awkward at times, but overall, the experience of online learning hasn’t been a bad one. I’m very lucky to have a separate room to study in and have my partner with me to keep me sane.
How do you think events of 2020/1 (coronavirus, lockdown life, BLM) have shaped the graduating Class of 2021?
I think the experience of coronavirus and lockdown life have made us more resilient. It’s not been easy finishing a degree from home, unable to see family, or go to the pub with mates to relax after a long day. The involvement in, and response to, social justice movements such as BLM, #metoo, and the climate strikes, has shown that the Class of 2021 are going to be a force for positive change in the world. We’ve attended university during a tumultuous time, which has highlighted a wide variety of different issues, and made us think of the ways we want to get out there and change things.
What was it like finishing your studies towards the end of the pandemic?
It’s been an interesting mixture of long hours shut in my study space, and many hours spent playing Animal Crossing trying to relax.
What are your hopes and plans for the future (both for yourself personally and the world at large)?
Well, this year I’m honoured to be taking the role of Students’ Association President! I hope that I can help St Andrews transition back to normal life in a safe, sustainable, and accessible way, while making sure that we’re getting the student experience which is what really makes this University special. Beyond next year, I plan to undertake further study with the aim of pursuing a career in curation.
What will you miss most about ‘the bubble’ of St Andrews?
I’ll miss the weird and wonderful traditions that we have! The Gaudie, Raisin, May Dip… these events are unique to St Andrews and have played a big part in my St Andrews experience.
What are your plans for your own virtual conferral day?
I’m going to have to work in the afternoon, but I’m planning on taking some time off in the morning to watch the virtual ceremony (maybe in the garden if the weather is nice) and celebrate. Maybe I’ll go to the pub in the evening for a celebratory drink!
How do you feel now that we are beginning to see the light at the end of this pandemic?
I feel hopeful. It’s been amazing to see the town come to life again as restrictions ease and things open up. It’s comforting to see people out and enjoying themselves, and I hope that we’re able to keep the virus under control and continue the gradual return to normal.
And finally, do you hope to come back in 2022 to graduate in person?
For sure! I can’t wait to graduate and celebrate in person with everyone next year.