The struggles and successes of online learning

student studies in bedroomThe first week of online lectures has come and gone for Marjon. The novelty of being at home has started to wear off and reality is setting in that my second year is most likely over, without as much as a proper goodbye to my housemates.

Although, given all that, having class online has been better than expected. Some deadlines have been pushed back to accommodate the situation and we’ve even got given a free trial of Adobe to help complete the work. I’ve had one online lecture and actually being able to talk to the lecturer verbally rather than through email was really useful. It got everyone on track with what we’re supposed to do in terms of hand-ins. It’s also been an interesting coincidence to see how everyone in my class has a ‘broken’ webcam!

My Personal Development Tutor (PDT) made it clear that she’s always around if anyone’s finding it difficult in terms of wellbeing, which is nice to know. The course leader has been checking in online; making sure we are all doing okay and replying to emails regularly. Which makes it a lot easier to have questions answered and to track the changes in assignments – given the circumstances. But, a lot harder to procrastinate.

I left Marjon on a Thursday morning, so none of my friends were really around to see me off. I thought we’d only be gone for three weeks and it all should’ve died down after Easter, so I wasn’t really worried about not being able to say official goodbyes. But now we’re in lockdown and the Sports Awards in May have been moved online, it’s sad to think that was probably the point where I was leaving the house for the last time.

Most people are in the same boat and not going to live with the same friends next year, or even leaving Marjon for good. So, it’s important to keep in touch with your friends. Especially now when we are all feeling isolated. At the minute, I talk to my friends quite a lot through house party, which is an app you can get on your smartphone. It’s like Facetime, but for loads of people and you can play games if you want. It’s good to actually talk face to face – it can get frustrating having your brothers, sisters, and parents as the only point of contact 24/7. There is also a course group chat on Whatsapp, just for the students, which comes in handy.

I’m still getting used to working from home. Sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated with all the distractions around. I find it easier to have a separate workspace where I can focus my full attention on my coursework, without Netflix on in the background or family members around to chat to. As well as regular breaks- it’s important not to overwork yourself or you’ll get burnt out. At the minute, the government has said it’s okay to go out once a day for exercise (a walk, run, etc). So, make the most of being able to get outside, even if it’s just for a stroll around the block. I find it clears my head and puts me in a better mindset to stay focused.

No one knows how much longer life will be like this, but it’s safe to say the first day back at Marjon will be a good one.

You are my Marjon.

Thank you to Rebecca Toogood, BA (Hons) Journalism student, for writing this.

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