Starting university, no matter which year you are in, is a daunting yet exciting experience.

Meeting new friends, most likely friends for life, and taking those first steps into adulthood are all part of the university experience.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the studies of thousands of students around the country, and as the new term starts with people hopeful things would be getting back to normal, another huge blow has come in the form of the "rule of six".

This new rule has deeply impacted the "Freshers" experience, with students now restricted in their socialising.

Here, one student has spoken of the difficulties this new rule is having on students.

At the beginning of lockdown, I never anticipated the effect Covid-19 would have on my student life at university; naively believing that life would be back to normal by September.

It has been a long time since I have seen my uni friends due to lockdown and, since coming back to university, little has changed.

Quite a lot of students are hesitant to move out, let alone go out, due to Covid-19, and the social aspect of student life has altered dramatically since my first year of uni.

I personally have moved into a shared house, however under the current circumstances of the “rule of six”, the excitement of having my own freedom is almost non-existent, as it is difficult to settle in somewhere without the help of friends or the opportunity to meet new people.

A crucial part of university is Freshers' Week, which myself and many other students have heard little information about. One student told me that they heard nothing about freshers this year, and that they met many of their current friends at last year’s Freshers' Week.

First year students this year will have a big set-back in their university experience because of this.

Luckily for me, I am from Hull and have friends and family here, however I can only imagine the difficulty for new students moving here and being stripped of the chance to make friends and socialise.

Students have explained how social distancing in pubs and bars limits their social interaction, as you have to be seated, but then again social distancing is often forgotten about; linking back to the issue of students being too hesitant to go out.

This year Hull Uni hosted Welcome Fest, which consisted of an outdoor cinema, sports fair, and a socially distanced night at Tower.

A lot of my friends and I did not know this event was going on due to lack of information from the uni, and socialised mainly by going to each other’s houses or the pub, however the new Covid rules state that gathering at each other's houses is no longer possible.

Welcome Fest would be a good way for old friends to meet, however new students wouldn’t really be able to mingle and make friends due to the fact you are limited to your bubble of friends that would have to be organised previously.

The difficulty in social interaction has already started to take its toll on student life, as university is all about new experiences and some experiences can be difficult for some to come to terms with, especially moving away from home with little opportunity to get out.

The mental health of students is a concern as no one really knows what to expect of this year, the stress of university work as well as concern for the welfare of family and friends is a state of mind that no student wants to face alone, yet the strict rules on socialising means that many will feel alone until university is in full swing.