Students speaking about this academic year: ‘It’s okay if one day doesn’t go so well.’
Nearly all students have faced many challenges this academic year. Students Nasreen Javanjoo (Religious Studies) and Marcos Cordova (Literary Studies) talk about their experiences of studying in the time of coronavirus.
For Marcos, the biggest challenge this year is attending online classes. ‘Having to follow lectures in the same place as where you sleep becomes very depressing. You sleep, study, chill and eat in just one room.’ Nasreen also discovered that the online lectures were complicated: ‘It’s hard for me to find the motivation and discipline to sit down and study. Because I don’t go to University in person anymore, I can do things whenever I want. Then it’s easier to just stay in bed or do something else, and think about studying later.’
Fortunately, there’s some support from the University. ‘The University offers study spaces, which is great for people who also find it difficult to study at home. And there are always some spaces available, so I advise other students to make use of them too! It’s really helped me to keep on track with my studies,’ says Marcos. Nasreen points out that teachers are also offering support during these times: ‘At first, teachers thought, “They’re at home now, so they have all the time in the world to do my assignments.” But I often had problems with studying at home. Then I would email a teacher about it and fortunately they were very understanding.’ But even so, both Nasreen and Marcos would have liked more support from the University. ‘At the beginning of the year, we did get some emails from the Dean, telling us we were doing well. I liked that, but I would have preferred more guidance from the University.’
Despite everything, it’s been an instructive year for both Nasreen and Marcos. ‘I’ve learned not to take human interaction for granted. Sometimes it is good to stay at home and chill, but now I can’t wait to be allowed to do more. I’m going to make the most of that freedom and appreciate the little things and the people around me much more,’ says Marcos. Nasreen agrees: ‘Funnily enough, coronavirus has made me a more sociable person. I found out that I’m a real “people person”; the longer it went on, the more I felt the need to be in contact with people.’
Start every day as a new day
Finally, Marcos wants other students to know that if you’re having a bad day, it doesn’t mean tomorrow will be a bad day too. ‘Start every day as a new day, get up on time and do something different that day than how you normally do things, and you’ll break the vicious circle, we got used to during this pandemic. And be kind to yourself; it’s reasonable if one day doesn’t go so well. We need to accept failure as part of the process, and this doesn’t mean you are a failure.’ Nasreen adds that your mindset is also important: ‘We can’t change much about the current situation, but you can change a lot about your attitude to the situation. There’s no point in making yourself angry or sad all the time. We’ve already survived a whole year, so I can certainly handle a new day.’