There couldn’t be a more unique time to write about togetherness than during this pandemic that has urged people to distance themselves from one another.
What does togetherness mean to me?
It is the feeling of co-existing, of sharing meaningful connections and adding value to each other’s lives. The pandemic has been a devastating time, but it has also been a time of deep reflections and realisations. Personally, I was able to re-evaluate relationships and prioritise the ones that really matter.
After more than a year of being socially distanced, the world craves togetherness, now more than ever before. It is truly a unique time to start a new year at university because as COVID restrictions ease, we are faced with lots of new opportunities to meet people, network, and build connections. While this may seem exciting to a lot of people, it might feel challenging to some as it may trigger feelings of anxiety and loneliness. And we might wonder if togetherness is really that important. In a world that is threatened by the climate crisis, a pandemic, and several racial inequalities, research suggests that when faced with a common threat, a sense of togetherness can lead people to collectively respond to challenges and look past their differences. It has been sufficiently clear that the only way forward is we put our heads together and act in cohesion.
What does togetherness mean at university?
Togetherness at university comes with so many benefits. It helps you learn skills that you might not necessarily learn from your course. It helps you build connections that enrich your university experience. If you are an international student, it might be harder to feel a sense of belonging due to language or cultural barriers, adapting to new teaching methods, and social etiquette. It might be beneficial to join societies (KCLSU has a variety of societies to choose from), volunteer, and sign up for events that resonate with your interest. This will help not just find a sense of fulfilment and belonging but also help you boost your CV with soft skills you pick along the way.
Finally, it is important to remember that our community is diverse with students from varying cultural backgrounds and experiences. But what we all have in common is that we have a need to connect and belong. And it is a shared responsibility we all have a role to play in creating a culture of belonging for everyone.
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