My academic year in brief

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Author
erika-armanino
14 May 2021

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Without any doubt, this year has been the most challenging of my studies. Last year, when UK had its first lockdown, I was quite enjoying not going to work or to uni and I felt like I was investing time in myself. I started working out and cooking good food and I was enjoying managing my online study. 


Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last long. Being stuck in the house and with nothing to do made me soon feel useless. The following lockdowns haven’t helped. I’ve never been a big fan of early morning lectures at uni, but that feeling of tiredness walking to campus after a late night at work, was missing. 


Before the pandemic, everybody thought of being at home with no work to do as a dream but I am sure everybody changed their minds very soon. I was missing stupid things such as my morning teas on campus or sleeping in instead of going to lectures. Sleeping in and teas didn’t have the same taste anymore.


When online classes were first introduced I was thrilling about the idea of following lectures from my bed. Soon enough, I realised I was paying £9,250 to stare at a screen and to teach myself a degree. I know teachers and lecturers have had the same problems as students, and it’s not their fault, but I missed a human contact.


I didn’t realise until this year that the workload was actually increased with online teaching. Instead of going to lectures and then preparing your tasks and doing your readings for the seminars, I found myself reading sways before lectures, following lectures and doing more work that thought. 


My biggest nightmare became real: breakout rooms. I understand it’s important to discuss with other students but I expect a lecture to be an explanation. I don’t pay £9,250 to discuss with other students. To me, it looked like teachers didn’t know what to say anymore during lectures, and to pass the time they put us in breakout rooms. 


When in breakout rooms the options are two: you’ll find yourself in a room where nobody speaks and all the cameras are off or you’ll find yourself in a room where there’s always a long-winded student who asks you anything except for the topic discussion. In the fist case you’ll have to report to the teacher a discussion that never occurred, and I assure you that the feeling is pretty embarrassing. 


Going into exams period, I soon realised I had no motivation to complete any of the assessments. Finding motivation is hard when you work, sleep and eat in the same room. With my lack of motivation ,I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed this academic year although I’ve studied numerous interesting topics. It’s been more of a chore to me than a pleasure. 


I didn’t feel like university was giving me, or any other students, the right help and support. When expressing a negative thought to anyone at university, the answer was always “Talk to the Wellbeing Service”. I don’t want to talk to the well-being service, I just an honest understanding of what I’m going through as a student and I’d like universities to acknowledge that what they are doing at the moment is not enough.


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