Thomas Reid, from Inverurie, will graduate with an MLitt Russian Studies (with Distinction).

What attracted you to St Andrews in the first place?

I love the international feel to St Andrews. I come from a small town in Aberdeenshire, and so St Andrews feels like a nice compromise between being quite physically small and compact to having a vibrant student community.

What are your favourite memories of being a student here?

I loved Raisin – best weekend I’ve ever had, and watching others take part each year after makes me feel so nostalgic!

What is your favourite location in St Andrews and why?

Lade Braes – it reminds me a little bit of home, but it is usually quite quiet so it’s nice to walk down to clear my head.

When you reflect on your time in St Andrews, how do you think it has changed you?

I feel a lot more confident within myself, and that I put down to all the friends that I have made while studying here who I know will be with me for the rest of my life.

Where have you spent this year following the initial lockdown period and how was it for you?

I have mostly spent this year in St Andrews, other than a brief stint of going home. The first lockdown was hard, as it was for everyone, and like everyone else I got into my own rhythm. I’m very grateful to the internet (and for once social media) for having family and friends at my fingertips.

What was it like finishing your studies during a pandemic?

Surreal… Not having the standard paper-hand-in experience, or the last-minute rush (or thrill?) to get the dissertation to Print and Design on time made the whole finishing the dissertation an oddly anti-climactic experience.

What will you miss most about ‘the bubble’ of St Andrews?

I’m sticking around to do my PhD – St Andrews won’t be getting rid of me that easily! In many ways, I am very lucky and privileged to be able to stay, and I’m so very grateful to the Russian Department in particular for their constant support and guidance.

How do you think events of 2020 (coronavirus, lockdown life, BLM) have shaped the graduating Class of 2020?

2020 has without a doubt been a challenging year for everybody in many ways. But I do think that it has shown us all that we are resilient, and adaptable to the challenges beyond our control, and when it matters, we can all come together.

What message would you send to fellow Saints, graduating or otherwise, wherever they are around the world?

Thank you all for very many happy, wonderful memories of times spent walking along West Sands, putting the world to right over a pint (or four) of thistly crosses at Brew Co, and capering around the library when we reaaaally should have been focussing on those deadlines! St Andrews wouldn’t have been the experience without you – and you all know who you are.

And finally, do you hope to come back in 2021 to graduate in person?

As we say up in Aberdeenshire: ‘Mechty aye!’ (Absolutely!)