Given the year it has been with the Covid-19 pandemic, I thought it was time to write a blog on how its going during trimester two in lockdown. For context I am sharing with you my own circumstances, my husband and I live with our four children in Essex. I am in my second trimester at ARU and all four of our children are also currently home schooling, in addition to that my husband is also working from home full time...
It really has been a challenge to keep focus on my studies whilst also juggling four different schedules of zoom calls and online lessons, but overall I think we are fairing pretty well.
So, what has helped?
Honestly, I feel that the support from our teaching team has just been incredible! (Bearing in mind they are also facing the same many challenges) Our course leader has made herself available for a drop in every week, it’s a really good opportunity to have support with any issues that arise, particularly with course specific questions. On top of that we have a drop in with another lecturer for further virtual face to face support, he is also great and is helping us by offering additional support with questions about our current modules.
Our teaching team are really offering top quality teaching, with opportunities made for small group work amongst our cohort, and some really good course related discussions. It feels like with such passionate lecturers you really want to study, learn more and develop yourself.
I got my first set of marks back last month, and while they were reasonably good, I know I can do better, to help me with this I had an amazing one to one session with a study skills advisor who really boosted my confidence and gave me things to work on to improve my writing and critical analysis! You get 6 sessions a year at the moment, and I feel that making use of every single one is really worthwhile.
Its also really helped that our cohort have gelled together well, through the cohort group chat there can literally be someone available to answer your question or recommend an interesting book at anytime of the day. I think its also good to know others are in the same position, we can support each other, and know we are not alone. I would definitely recommend making the effort to connect with students across not only your course but the whole university too.
I am a course rep and this has given me the opportunity to be able to discuss issues as they arise on behalf of the cohort, it is such a worthwhile role, and I do feel that we make a difference. Our lecturers are really happy to work with us, and appreciate the feedback too.
The final thing that’s really helped is to be realistic with myself, I always have far too high expectations of myself, and the biggest thing I have learnt this year is that its ok to ask for help, and that not everyone can be everything to everyone all the time. If you are struggling right now, be kind to yourself, its ok to find things difficult, but reach out for help where you need to. Sometimes just turning off the laptop, putting away the books and doing something you enjoy can be the break you need to regain focus!