Sophie Platt has combined studying for a degree in Media and Communications with working with us a communications assistant. Here she reflects on the challenges of completing her studies in lockdown.
Third year of university is famous for being one of the most stressful years of someone’s life. Imagine the stress of a global pandemic added to this. Online lectures and exams, waiting for help from lecturers, no graduation – it is not how students want their third year to go. The current climate is difficult for everyone, and as a (meant to be) graduate, I understand how difficult it is for people in university during this time.
Lockdown affected everyone. For those of us at university, everything changed. For my course, everything was moved online. In the summer, I wasn’t due to have any exams, however I know people who had to complete them at home online. Exams are difficult anyway, and I consider myself lucky that I did not have to complete them in a completely different style.
I had essays and a dissertation to complete. The issues I faced with these assessments was getting in touch with my lecturers. Normally we would be able to ask questions after lectures or seminars, however only being able to contact them via email makes it difficult, especially since they all have so many other students to reply to as well.
Lectures were also cancelled; some were not even delivered online. All the normal tools we had to help our learning were suddenly only available for a very short time. Completing my dissertation like this was very stressful.
I tried looking at the positive side, a few assessments were extended, meaning I had more time to complete my work. For assessments such as my dissertation, this was extremely helpful and was taken full advantage of. I was able to make my dissertation stronger.
I think we also gained more independence, we had to learn to do it for ourselves more; we had to teach ourselves a lot of the modules from the material they gave, and also make ourselves do the work – since there was no one tracking our attendance it would be easy to just miss it all.
Most years are rewarded with a graduation, we are not getting that celebration until 2021. I did not realise how important my graduation was to me until it was gone. I have not enjoyed my three years at university, my graduation was my reward for sticking it out. Now it feels like my time at university has been extended when in reality that was the last thing I wanted. The whole celebration has to be postponed though, I can’t celebrate with my family and friends.
My three years at university have not been what I expected; with the mixture of strikes and lockdown, I have missed more time at university than most, however I do think it has helped me to become a more independent and professional person.