These pictures of cramped study spaces prove how hard doing a degree is in lockdown

Never thought I’d want to go back to the library so badly

Finishing your degree at home, without access to a library, is a pain for any final year student. But the lockdown has highlighted just how different conditions are for some students.

One in 20 students don’t have an adequate computer to study with, according to the results of a Tab survey. One in six say they don’t have an internet connection good enough to work with. A third have no quiet room of their own to study with.

Whether they’ve moved home or stayed at uni, students are sharing the makeshift and cramped spaces they’re finishing their degrees in, as part of an NUS campaign.

Lockdown has exposed, and often heightened, the barriers faced by some students at university. “The impact of this disruption will not be felt equally, with those on placements and disabled students feeling the impact particularly severely,” says NUS VP Claire Sosienski Smith.

Students are having to pay more to upgrade wifi connections

The spaces are often small and cramped

Returning home from uni, it’s likely you’re far from the only person in your house. Students are having to carve out space in busy homes, sometimes with only just enough room to take notes.

Bedrooms have become offices

If the place you’re staying doesn’t have a study, or even a room for you to study in, the bedroom is probably where your essays are being hammered out.

Without a desk, it’s not uncommon to be working on your bed.

Pretty much everything is being turned into a desk

Tables pulled up to the closest thing which can serve as a chair, pairs of laptops crammed onto a small table, or just your legs – anything and everything is being repurposed to serve as a desk.

Gone are chairs with proper back support and computers at eye level.

With some students returning home to quiet studies and fast internet connection, others have to make to with the arm of a sofa.

Claire Sosienski Smith, NUS VP for Higher Education, told The Tab: “The aim of our Space to study campaign is to highlight the difficult conditions students are facing right now and why we need to secure a student safety net.

“Face-to-face teaching and assessments have had to be hurriedly moved online, and placement and other practical activity has had to be cancelled. Students have lacked access to key resources, such as libraries and spaces, disabled students have been left unsupported, and students and staff have been struggling with other demands on their finances, welfare and wider lives as lockdown restrictions are enforced.

“The impact of this disruption will not be felt equally, with those on placements and disabled students feeling the impact particularly severely. Students must not be forgotten. A Student Safety Net will demonstrate that this government cares about the students of today and recognises the role of all students in our future.

“We are campaigning for £60m new money in student hardship funding nationwide, and the option to redo the year at no additional cost, or have their debt written off or fee payments reimbursed. We are also developing our proposals for an economic package for those who leave education this year, in light of the poor job market.”

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