Harriet Lyon, 19, from North Yorkshire, has recently moved from the farm in Malton, North Yorkshire, to attend the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, Gloucestershire.
We will follow her over the course of the year to see what life as an agricultural student is like.
It’s been a few months since I updated you all and time here at university really has flown by!
Looking back, one of my highlights was the Christmas Ball. The decorations for it were out of this world, right down to a dance floor covered in fake snow. Christmas holidays came around and it was nice to be back up north, being able to spend time with friends and family.
A real treat over the holidays was getting all dressed up for a young farmers’ wedding, which was a perfect way to catch up with everybody. I had a few meet ups over the weeks off with my uni pals, including a day’s shooting and a night out for my 19th birthday. It was great to mix the two groups of friends together, as it’s much less effort if everyone can muck in with each other!
I spent the last week of the holidays practicing my trailer reversing, as I’d applied to do my test through the university which skipped a lot of waiting as they already pre-booked slots and made it cheaper. Both my uncle and boyfriend were very patient as I tried to get my head around which way sent the trailer where!
Anyway, I went and did my test. While on the route, I kept thinking it was rather a busy town, but of course had no idea where I was, perhaps worked in my favor when I learnt I’d been driving through the middle of Cheltenham and on the M5!
Last term, I was undecided on whether I’d chosen the right course - I was finding the mathematical module hard. After a meeting with my personal tutor though I decided to just knuckle down. My current modules now are more agricultural, which is much more my cup of tea.
We’d also got into the habit of going outside and throwing a rugby ball between ourselves, which is simple but such a nice way of getting out of your room and not getting ‘cabin-fever’ as we all put it.
Little did we know that within a week cabin fever would be the norm for most of the population, with the Government’s Covid-19 lockdown coming into force. It all caught me by surprise a bit as I didn’t have a television at uni.
We all woke up to messages that Monday morning saying to check our emails. I thought it was a joke at first when I read that my lectures would be online and university life as I knew it wouldn’t return until my second year!
My last day was rather a sad day. I was packing up inside and looking out to the picturesque scenes of the grounds where I would miss spending summer evenings, as I had imagined.
Everyone that was left made the best of the bad situation. A cricket bat was found and we played all afternoon all thinking the same thing, that we’d been robbed of what would have been a special term culminating with our first May Ball. At least the annual Harper v Ciren rugby match was able to go ahead.
Of course, it was a sad but inevitable decision. It’s been quite heartbreaking to be in lockdown and unable to meet up with friends and family. I think it’s hit me especially hard as I’d been so used to being in company all the time. To come back to living pretty much in the middle of nowhere has been difficult. One thing that did cheer me up was seeing my brother’s lambs.
After a few days of being sad, I decided to do something about it and have got a job milking. I’d no experience of dairy cows and even less of getting up at 4.30am, but it’s been the best thing I could have done. It’s earning me some money and keeping me sane. It’s an organic dairy with nearly 300 cows and as well as milking I’m helping rear calves.
It would be easy to forget all about uni, but lectures have finally moved online and I’m trying to get into a routine of doing a bit of work on the days I’m not milking. I’ll keep you in the loop with how that goes!