Written by Aysha Gilmore
Stressed, exasperated, and unmotivated. Three words which describe the emotions of final year students at present. The current THIRD lockdown has meant undergraduates are confined to their homes, staring at their 13-inch screens, for what seems like 16 hours a day.
According to the university/government guidance, the bulk of students cannot return from their holiday home to their rented student house in Leicester. Thus, the majority of students cannot use the library unless they are one of the very few on an ‘exempted course’.
Whilst the new ‘roadmap out of lockdown’ announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the 22nd of February gave hope for the teaching of students aged 18 and below, however, undergraduates were given a vague remark that their education would be reviewed after the Easter break. This just adds to the list of times the current government has forgotten and dismissed university students.
Although, unlike the government, final year students cannot ignore their education, because degrees, assignments, and deadlines persist. Aside from this, undergraduates are still expected to produce the same standard of work, as if the current pandemic does not exist.
Opinions surrounding working from home generally involve loss of motivation: Isabella Read (Third Year, Physics student) exclaims “I have no motivation and I’m constantly stressed”. Isabella goes on to suggest her lack of motivation is caused by the “lack of socialising, which makes her course hard to navigate”.
Similar to Isabella, Rosie (Third Year, History student) said: “working at home this year has been tough. The lack of social contact and class engagement heavily impacted my motivation, especially when there has not been much to look forward to in terms of social events”.
Clearly, the general discourse encompassing working from home for final year undergraduates, during the pandemic, is difficult. Finding the energy both to start work and to switch off can be strenuous when students are surrounded by the same four walls.
However, working from home does have a few positives: Isabella states “I like having lectures online as I can pause them, which allows me greater focus”.
Rosie exclaims her delight towards the support she has received from lecturers during the pandemic “Lecturers and my friends have been integral in keeping my spirits high. All of my tutors have been incredibly accommodating and understanding of the current situation”.
The final year of university is supposed to be the most difficult year for undergraduate study, without adding the pressure of the pandemic and consecutive lockdowns to this equation. Working from home was always going to leave undergraduates at a disadvantage, no matter how much support they receive from the university or lecturers. Ultimately, this has left students stressed, exasperated, and unmotivated.
The university dedicates support lines for anyone struggling during the pandemic:
- For COVID-specific queries email: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0116 252 2300 (Monday to Friday, 10.00am-4.00pm)
- Student Support Services, including finance: email@example.com or 0116 223 1185 (Monday to Friday, 9.00am-5.00pm)
- Nightline listening service (Monday and Thursday, 8.00pm-2.00am, term time only)
Aysha is a final year BA History student at the University of Leicester. She is interested in environmental and social issues. Her insta name is: aysha__gilmore.