Covid-19 is being discussed on every news channel and across social media all over the world. Whether you are supporting a loved one during a difficult time or protecting yourself and your family through quarantine, Covid-19 has touched everyone’s lives. I thought we should hear from our fellow students about how they feel about this global pandemic and how it has affected their education.
Nishat Tasnim: Biochemistry, 2nd Year
Q: How has Covid-19 impacted your education?
A: All my modules are online now. Two of them are online webinars where the lecturer gives a live audio on the power point presentation. It’s strange not walking into a lecture hall or going to tutorials. Although, working online hasn’t changed much. It is like a normal lecture except more comfortable since I can just watch and listen from my very own bed. The only problem with that is the bad internet connection and the fact that it is too comfortable to work.
Q: What is one word to sum up this academic year for you and why?
A: I would describe this year as ‘CRAZY’. Simply due to the pandemic. My learning has changed, as has every other student’s in the country. Covid-19 has changed everything. It hasn’t just affected education and the way we learn and are taught, it has affected society in so many different ways. We are literally in lock down, the entire world is, and people are reacting. Some are reacting badly as we have seen with the excessive shopping and lack of hand sanitizers. Others are reacting better by staying at home like they are meant to and promoting positivity.
Joshua Fraser: English, 2nd Year
Q: With the combination of Covid-19 and the strikes, do you think students should have the right to claim their money back?
A: That’s a question I have thought about a lot, and my answer would be yes, but with some caveats. I think students should be refunded money for the weeks missed due to the strikes, but not the weeks missed due to Covid-19. The University does a lot of things with the money people pay as tuition expenses. I’m pretty sure that staff gets their pay deducted as a result of striking. If that is the case, and even if it isn’t (as either way it doesn’t damage the cause of the striking lecturers), we should be repaid as we didn’t receive any teaching. The money not repaid from striking lecturers should stay with the University. I think what a lot of people don’t understand is that the University you go to has an impact on your job prospects; many employers are not ‘university blind’. Like capitalism or not, money is required if Queen Mary is to improve. If we, as the student body, demand too much undue recompense, we could damage QM’s place in the University rankings and ultimately degrade the strength of our CV in the long run. That brings me to Covid-19. This could not have been foreseen or prevented by the University. It’s an ‘act of God’, if you will. So, I don’t think we are entitled to ask for money from the University as a result of something they had no control over. Also, like any business, the University probably does not sit with a huge reserve of cash. I’m not sure of its liquidity, but much of the tuition fees we pay are probably already spent on the University running costs and improvements. Asking for it back could damage the kind of facilities we see in the future.
Q: What are your goals for the next academic year?
A: Next academic year, I want to read more, show up to lectures on time, and to balance fitness with academic work. This quarantine has shown me how good yoga can be at recharging your batteries.
Roma Ramsden-Gupta: History, 3rd Year
Q: How do you feel about potentially not having a graduation ceremony this summer due to Covid-19?
A: I’m actually not that fussed with graduation. I was debating whether to go originally in the first place anyway as it is very expensive, and I didn’t really see the point of it. Now with Covid-19, I won’t have any chance of feeling left out. I do understand that others must be feeling down about the situation since graduation is the highlight of getting your diploma.
Q: What are your plans for next year?
A: I have literally no plans for next year. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing! I guess I am just going with the flow of things. I said I’d finish getting all my degree work done before I even think about anything else. I’m just going to experiment with things and see what I like!
Varun Chaubey: Business Management, 1st Year
Q: How has Covid-19 affected this academic year for you?
A: I think the impact this has had on me this year is mostly mental. Even though our school has been kind enough to push back all the deadlines, it has been quite hard to focus while all of this is going on. I think others may feel the same. However, this crisis has also given me a new perspective; instead of placing too much value on my University results, like I did, I am now content with remaining healthy and focusing on my own mental health.
Q: What do you think of the online classes so far?
A: I actually have not attended any online classes at all, even though I know I should. I guess I’ve just felt a little disconnected as it’s not the same as actual lectures and seminars. That being said, I do keep up to date with all the reading material and try to catch up in my own time.