Lockdown in the UK has now been extended for at least another three weeks due to the coronavirus and this means that the universities and schools in the UK will remain physically closed for at least this duration.
But this doesn’t mean that the learning has to stop. Samantha Cox is studying an MSc in Public Policy and Management at the University of Glasgow in Scotland in the UK. In this blog, the recent Postgrad Solutions Bursary Winner describes how she has adapted to the new normal when studying her postgraduate program.
“As with every other student out there, Covid-19 has had a huge impact on my studies. Luckily, the University of Glasgow – where I attend – has done their absolute best to keep us informed and the staff have a plan in place to ensure that everyone will graduate on time.
I’m very fortunate in that by the time the University of Glasgow was closing its campus, I was largely done with in-person classes for the semester. This made the switch to online learning easier because I only had to attend a few lectures. My professors have been wonderful at adapting to the switch and with making sure that we are all as comfortable as we can be in this new normal. Students and professors alike have been extremely flexible with one another as we all adapt to ‘Zoom University’.
The biggest hurdle for me has been switching to solely learning in my bedroom, but it has forced me to get creative! I am a student who loves to study in the library or in one of the many cosy coffee shops across the West End of Glasgow. I’ve made working solely at my desk work for me by making myself a good cup of coffee the way I would order it if I were out studying and by trying to switch up my environment. I’ve even DIY-d my own standing desk!
The College of Urban Studies, which my course belongs to, has also been excellent at communicating changes with us. The academic staff have been extremely generous in granting every student extensions on each paper as well as on dissertations.
The other biggest change I have had to contend with is the necessity to shift my dissertation topic. Because of Covid-19 my college has changed its dissertation and ethics guidelines, which meant that I have had to change my topic. However, this has ended up being a positive that I never expected. After having spoken to my supervisor, we have pivoted my topic so that it both fits within the new guidelines and is still something that falls within my academic strengths and interests. I am very excited to begin working on it with my supervisor (even if we are doing the entire project via Skype!).
While this is not how I expected to spend my post-grad year in Scotland, I am overall feeling extremely lucky that I and everyone I love remain safe and healthy, and that I attend a university that cares a lot about its students, placing their needs first."