MSc student Emily Webb shares her story of misfortune and how the kindness of classmates and lecturers helped her to keep going.

It is pretty safe to say at the halfway mark that 2020 has been a year of great upheaval.

A year of a global pandemic

And a year where social justice and emancipation has become a prevalent issue within society again.

But, what do you do when it has also been a year of great stress and anxiety on a personal level?

2020 for me started wirth my own version of the great depression, but more mental than economical that stemmed from that great post-graduate anxiety of “Oh God what am I going to do in the future?”

Little did I know, in January, that the future and the norm would radically change anyway.

Because a period of bad mental health was not enough stress for me, I then went and broke my leg in two places.

After the initial shock of breaking my leg what came next?

Now, I would love to sit here and say I did recovery all by myself and I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and blah blah.

But that would simply be the biggest lie that I have ever written.

Someone, (probably Dr Soeren Keil or Dr Paul Anderson) said that you do not do a Masters in isolation, it is a team effort, and 2020 has proven that time and time again.

I would simply not be here writing my thesis (and this blog post as a form of procrastination) because I would have dropped out in January or maybe even February if it hadn’t been for the following people and events.

I would not have got through being in hospital if it had not been for my coursemate and best friend Lilly, because she showed up everyday with snacks and both mental and literal physical support when I was trying to walk again after surgery.

But, It wasn’t just Lilly who was such an awesome friend from my course. It was everyone’s continuous kindness, it was those that showed up when I had a bad day and those that helped even with the simple things like grabbing me a coffee or opening a door for me.

But the biggest level of compassion and patience definitely came from the politics department.

I remember being sat in the hospital after surgery crying to Lilly about writing the email to the politics department to let them know what had happened. I remember crying because I felt like I had failed myself because having to ask for help would be such an inconvenience to the politics department, to my coursemates and everyone in my life simply because I was asking for accommodations for a badly broken leg.

I know that in hindsight that this was a very toxic and frankly incorrect mindset to have.

But I know this because of the response that came from the email (Lilly wouldn’t leave until I sent it).

Because Soeren had sat down and had, obviously expressed his concern, but then addressed room issues and procedures that the university had in place and gave me the reassurance that I could heal in my own time and to be patient with myself and that my masters will get finished if I want to finish it, which I did and still do.

It wasn’t just Soeren’s patience and practical response that was fantastic, it was the fact that this sentiment was shared amongst all my other lecturers and was reciprocated. It was this pastoral assistance and patience and kindness that allowed me the space to heal and take the time that I needed.

It is this response that sets the Politics and IR department at CCCU apart from other departments and universities, because this didn’t just stop after I was mostly healed.

This kindness and patience continued into their response to COVID and the unprecedented times that come from COVID.

Because a masters is not done alone, it is done with the support of classmates, and friends and a fantastic department alongside your studies.

And long may this continue at CCCU.

Emily Webb is a postgraduate student on our MSc Politics (Radical Political Theory)