8th March: All schools are to return.
First question I asked myself was, does that include university? As always, the info about what universities are supposed to do is very unclear from the government.
We then finally get informed that we can return for ‘practical’ lessons. Seems reasonable.
So here I am, back on campus. Not full-time, as I only have one ‘practical’ lesson a week.
But it’s better than nothing. So I’ve decided to give you all a little insight into what campus looks like during the current situation. What systems they have in place, how that’s affected lessons, and everything in between.
I’ve not really known any different since I started last September, as I did start in the middle of the pandemic. I think we had about six days on campus during September and October, and then we got placed into full online learning for the foreseeable future.
5 months later, and we were being told that from 8th March we can come back for one day a week. I tell you what, them 5 months FLEW BY.
Everything was a bit up in the air after we got the news on 8th March. It was a bit like ‘ok, now what?’. Emails were coming in thick and fast about what the return was going to look like.
Even when we started last September, my university had a very strict social distancing rule, and that continues. As you can see in the picture at the top, signs have been placed around campus to remind students to social distance, which let’s be honest, some don’t pay attention to.
Also, like a lot of other places, there’s a continuous ‘keep left’ and ‘keep right’ system.
For the most part, campus has been very quiet, which was probably intentional, but it does definitely put me at ease with the fact that I’m not having to dodge and push past someone every 5 seconds.
The social distancing rule is present in every part of the university, from classrooms, toilets, to lunch and social areas. Some social areas have even been completely cut off and blocked so no one can go in.
All the tables are evenly spread out, with only one person allowed per table. It then starts the endless game of trying to guess what someone is saying, as you’re all spread apart. ‘What did they say?’, ‘I can’t hear that’, ‘hang on, say it again’. It’s quite hilarious, as you’re trying to have a conversation with someone 5 meters away from you, and it just isn’t happening.
Weekly COVID testing is also compulsory for everyone going back to campus, which the university offers. It does give some comfort to think that everyone you’re going to be around has had a negative test, it just puts you at ease a bit more. Testing takes literally 20 seconds and as unpleasant as it is, the benefits in the long run are 100% worth it.
In terms of the impact on lessons and teaching due to restrictions, obviously it means that we’re not allowed to do certain things and go certain places. For example, as I study journalism, in normal times we would’ve gone to court, watched a real trial and then reported on it, but due to restrictions we weren’t able to.
It’s things like that that have had to be modified due to COVID, however there’s always second year where we’ll be able to get the full experience, so I’m not too disappointed. Completing work and submitting assignments on deadline, for me, hasn’t been affected too much, there’s been the odd setback, but let’s just say stress levels have maintained at a reasonably manageable level so far. I know for a lot of other uni students it’s been tough to find the motivation, and complete the work to an expected standard, but you’ve got to remember we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, so try not to put too much pressure on yourself, because I know what that’s like, and it really doesn’t benefit you in any way.
I think it’s all about trying to make the best out of a difficult situation. We’re all pretty much used to wearing masks everywhere we go, I’ve got good friends on my course, and June 21st is getting closer and closer.
If you’re also at university, let me know what your experience is like!