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How have your studies been affected by COVID-19? These students have their say

The whole world has been turned on its head. 

Across the globe, there has never been a time of such uncertainty and no one can really predict what might be happening next week or next month. 

But for students and soon-to-be graduates who're at a time in life that's already filled with a lot of uncertainty, the past few weeks, and what will happen in the next few, can feel pretty daunting. Combine this worry about the future, having to process the fact that we're facing a pandemic and the added questions about whether exams will be cancelled, reimbursements will be given for the time lost and whether degrees will even get finished at all, and there's a lot to think about.

Every university appears to be making their own decisions on how to go about the rest of the year and we wanted to hear what students have to say about it all. So, we've chatted to a few of them from universities up and down the country about how they, and their studies, have been affected.

 

Beth, Ellie and Lizzie are final year students at Newcastle University. Their campus has been closed but, as it stands, they still have coursework deadlines to meet and dissertations to finish. Ellie tells us, "We've paid £9,000 for four weeks of lecturer strikes at our university and then now coronavirus. The university have shut the sports hall, the only place that the data I've collected for my dissertation can be coded, but my draft deadline is due in two weeks."

Lizzie is also worried about how she'll get her work done at home: "I need certain books for my essays which are usually available in the library. Obviously the library's shut now and I can't access the books online."

It's not just the academic side of university that they're missing out on because of coronavirus - all final year events and even graduations have been cancelled. "It's so frustrating", says Beth, "You work for three years and want to celebrate with your friends at the end of it all, and say bye to them properly, but we won't get to do that. We all left so abruptly. My graduation's been cancelled too and that's made me lose all motivation to finish my degree." 

 

Beckie is a Psychology Masters student at Manchester Metropolitan University. As part of her course she would ordinarily have to attend a placement, but coronavirus had other ideas. "My placement's been cancelled so now I have to make up the hours by watching 25 hours of videos of therapy - not fun," she says. "I've not heard anything about my exams yet, but group presentations have now been turned into coursework."

When asked how the university has supported students, Beckie tells us, "They've given us a one week extension on any assignments due in between now and May, which is good. I'd say [the university] are good at updating us on the situation, but I don't think they've been particularly mindful of the fact that everyone's head is in a mess and it's all a bit chaotic."

 

Joanna is a mature student in her final year at the University of Teeside. She has more than just a degree to worry about. "I've been in isolation for one week and I have 11 weeks left. Our library has closed and I've been trying to work everyday [at home], but I have a teenager who's been sick herself. The problem that people are finding is that many people don't have the technology to work from home so can't complete deadlines. I think all universities should be able to use each other's online resources, that would help a lot."

 

Jamie Harkin is a college student from Northern Ireland. His upcoming A Level exams have been cancelled as a result of coronavirus. "Teachers will be using a combination of internal data and predicted grades to formulate our grades, which is disappointing because I perform best during exams. It feels like that opportunity to shine has been robbed off us", he tells us. "My friends and I are concerned about the grade awarding process and hope that our hard work is recognised." 

Like Beth, Ellie and Lizzie, Jack feels like he's missing out on more than just finishing his A Levels. "A part of me is very sad that we won't get a leavers day, to wear our leavers hoodies or feel the excitement of finishing our last exams. It's a sad time for all of us." 

 

Roshni is a student in the capital, at Imperial College London. Her university are moving a lot of work online - she's expected to keep up-to-date with content through video chat app, Zoom, and collaborate online for group projects. She explains that, more so than anything else, her biggest concerns are "being able to cope with the lack of social interaction I'll now get with friends and the uncertainty surrounding exams." 

 

Do you also feel frustrated, worried about what the future holds or in need of some extra support?

We've set up a Student Skill Swap group just for students, encouraging you to share your skills and support one another during this uncertain time. Whether you need people to answer your dissertation survey or just some motivational words to help you keep going, it's all on there. Join for free, invite your friends and share your skills right here. 

 

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