While studying at Sussex University I busied myself with coursework, attending seminars, an internship, socialising with my course mates, and taking advantage of the university fitness centres.

My loaded schedule suddenly came to a grinding halt when the COVID-19 outbreak rendered those activities impossible. At first, I felt frustrated and restless. I loved my course, my new friends, and all of the activities that filled my days. But I also began to recognise how privileged I am in this unprecedented and difficult situation, being healthy and financially stable. I found it helpful to shift my focus to health and wellbeing for myself and others around me.

In the distance, I could see the beautiful Stanmer Park and decided it was time to properly explore my surroundings.

Whether you are a student currently feeling “stuck” on campus or if you are considering attending, it’s a good time to appreciate that the University is situated amidst incredible scenic landscapes.

I began to take daily walks through the area with a friend (maintaining a distance of 2 metres apart of course). I had been on a few hikes with the Sussex Walking & Hiking Society and thoroughly enjoyed the fun days of exercise and meeting new people. But because of my busy schedule, I had never fully explored what was in my own backyard!

Every day we set out from our Brighthelm accommodation, which we discovered is just steps away from beautiful hiking trails. We walked along wooded paths shaded by canopies of trees filled with birds and rabbits. We admired the rolling hills and pastures teeming with herds of cows and flocks of sheep. We stumbled upon old cobblestone churches, quaint cottages, and picturesque farmhouses. We took photos of every new wildflower we came across, falling in love with British daffodils in the process. I was shocked that I had been so oblivious to all of this natural beauty around us!

Cassandra daffodils

All of this natural beauty can be a perfect place for exercise, or just clearing your head (whether that’s coping with a pandemic or taking a study break). Students all regularly enjoy Brighton’s vibrant ocean setting and its plethora of fun shops, restaurants, and pubs. While we sadly cannot enjoy them for the time being, we are incredibly fortunate to have other spaces to enjoy.

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