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Student life during a pandemic

Published: 22 Dec 2020
Category:
By Romessa Mahmood

Undergraduate Medical Pharmacology student, Romessa, gives her perspective on the highs and lows of working from home during a pandemic.

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On 23 March the UK went into lockdown, and all at once it seemed as if everyone’s lives had been put on hold. During this unprecedented time (sorry if you’re tired of that phrase but of course it had to have a special mention), students were no exception. I’m here to give an insight as to what lockdown looked like for an undergraduate student.

Lockdown meant a sudden stop to lectures, practicals, workshops and seminars; for many students, this was heaven. However, despite all the jokes (and many, many memes) there was a sense of unease and confusion as to what this meant for our academic future. As universities tried to keep us reassured, we all had to find ways to adapt to this new way of online teaching. It didn’t seem too hard though; many loved the idea of being able to stay in their pyjamas.

Every student had a different experience; while many felt the boredom during lockdown, I was thrown into the oddly comforting chaos of being back in my family home. In summary, my lockdown consisted of babysitting, home-schooling and trying to pass the second year of my degree. Balancing completing assessments and coursework whilst entertaining two young children and supporting a third with her medicine application, I was never bored – or alone for that matter (seriously though, showering in peace was not an option). On top of the home responsibilities and coursework, as my role as a Student Ambassador at the university, I was doing frequent webinars as a replacement of open days. The shift from doing all of these activities on campus to doing them at home felt strange, but it was my Wi-Fi connection that tested my patience the most. Talking to prospective students whilst trying to ignore that everyone could see my 6-year-old sister jumping on my bed behind, or hear her calling my name at volumes that only children seem to be able to reach, was highly embarrassing. I worried what the lecturers and colleagues would think - only to realise that behind the scenes, they were having the same problem too! I was worried that I would struggle being home, trying to complete work whilst babysitting and still doing the job I love however, in the end, I became more productive. Don’t get me wrong, it was incredibly stressful as this wasn’t something I had chosen but I became more appreciative of what I had at home and powered on.

I felt challenged in a different way to ever before and admittedly, it was incredibly difficult to watch as the world tried its best to make it through a time of confusion and loss. However, as I prepare to go back to university to start my final year of my undergraduate degree, I have a new-found respect for myself and other students who muddled their way through lockdown. Whether they went to work for the frontline, helped support their families or just stayed home and did their part, every student should be proud of themselves for making it through lockdown. To those who graduated, congratulations and to those who are starting or coming back in September, good luck – this isn’t the university experience that you signed up for, but it won’t be one that you’ll forget.

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About the author

Romessa Mahmood
 
Romessa is an undergraduate student studying BSc Medical Pharmacology at Swansea University. She completed the second year of her degree during lockdown and now in her final year, is looking at future study prospects. Romessa also works at the university as a Student Ambassador and Undergraduate College Representative for Swansea University Medical School. Romessa has been a member of the BPS since 2018.