How the University Dealt with COVID
Hi all! As we edge evermore closer to the ‘end’ of COVID (according to the government), I thought I would share my views on how Warwick University dealt with the pandemic.
I started university in the midst of all the COVID happenings. This meant that my learning and ‘freshers experience’ was unlike that of previous years, and some would go so far to say that it was hindered by the process. To an extent, yes, I would agree with that, as the teaching experience I’ve had has without a doubt been different to what it’s been like in the past. Throughout the whole of first year, lectures were delivered online, instead of the usual in-person style. This was a whole different occurrence, not just for the students, but for the academics too. Their teaching style had to be adapted to accommodate the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic, to which I believe was done well.
The Chemistry Department kept the cohort well-informed at all times, with regular updates after each government announcement. As a practical course, communication was particularly key, so I really appreciated all that the department did to ensure maximum interaction throughout the unprecedented times. After lockdown and numerous confusing announcements from the government, the department shared the good news of bringing back in-person practicals in the laboratory (taking caution with abiding by COVID regulations.) The academics took the decision to place our labs in an intensive two-week period after our summer exams, which was a lot of work and tiring initially, but looking back now, I am so grateful that this decision was made as it gave me the opportunity to get in-person practical experience in the undergraduate labs in my first year and has formed the foundations of one of my favourite aspects of the course.
The social aspect of my first year at university was pretty much out the window as soon as COVID restrictions came into play. The university and security were very much on-top of any rules being broken by students and were strict with keeping in-line with precautions set by the government. To students, this was definitely an inconvenience as it affected our outlook on the ‘fresher experience’ and took away our freedom of socialising to the extent we could have experienced prior to the pandemic. Having said this, Warwick must be credited for their continuous efforts to abide by all the COVID restrictions and prioritise the safety of all members of the university.
Moving ahead with the times and into my second year, restrictions have eased, and face-to-face interactions have increased. I’ve really loved this part of university; it’s given me the opportunity to build strong friendships and relationships with other students and academics on my course, which I value greatly as I’ve learned key transferable skills and made some life-long friends from. Not only this, but I’ve been able to get more involved within different aspects of university, whether it be through socials, open days or photoshoots for Warwick!
COVID was a time of such uncertainty, and has had such a massive impact on students, staff, and the community. Despite this, all-in-all, I believe that the university took a very cautious and careful approach to the severity of the pandemic, incorporating mandatory face-mask wearing in all university buildings and social distancing precautions in all social spaces. In terms of teaching, I cannot fault the Chemistry Department’s response to the pandemic, and I believe they did the utmost to make the cohort have the best and ‘normal’ learning experience they could.