Being a student during a pandemic
Being a student during a pandemic is certainly a very different university experience than I imagined for myself when I was applying back in Year 13.
Each lockdown has been a different experience for me. I didn’t really have a Term 3 last year: my remaining teaching and exams were cancelled, so I only had coursework deadlines to contend with during the first lockdown. It was very different in November, when I was living in Leamington and was still able to go to my in-person seminar each week. Now I’m back at home, with my teaching fully online.
I have got used to having so much of my content online. It’s definitely different to the experience of teaching I had for the first two terms of my first year, but I don’t have any issues with it. Having experienced both, out of the two I’d still prefer to have in-person teaching, but I know that’s just not possible at the moment.
But I’m not sure that it’s being sat in a lecture theatre or seminar room that I miss at the moment. I think what I actually really miss the most with everything being online is the catch-ups I used to have with other people on my course before a lecture started, or sitting with my friends in the library after a seminar.
In terms of resources, I tend to prefer using physical books when I’m reading for my essays, but a lot of things are available as ebooks, so even though it’s not the way I’d ideally like to read, it’s not really a problem for me at the moment.
I think it’s even more important to have a clear divide between work and rest than ever before. In the past, I’ve been known to do work sat on my bed, but now that I spend most of my day in one room, I only work at my desk.
Another issue I’ve found with being at home all the time without many options for socialising is that it’s harder to keep a routine. I’ve made a conscious effort to stick to a timetable all of this academic year, but now that I’m at home (and my brain still thinks it’s in holiday mode), I think it’s even more useful to me.
Being a student with a social life in lockdown is definitely an exercise in creativity. My friends and I have a video call just before one of our seminars to try to make it seem at least a bit like it used to be, and we are currently all watching The Queen’s Gambit together in the evenings (would recommend if you haven’t already seen it). We’ve also done baking together, and organised lunch breaks to be at the same time so we can call during the break.
I hope this gives a bit of an insight into how student life has changed for me through the pandemic. It’s definitely different to how it used to be, but I’m getting used to it.