The impact of the pandemic on Glasgow Uni Freshers so far

What are they missing out on?

First Year Freshers

Glasgow Uni freshers may have guessed that their first year would be slightly different to what they originally expected, but they probably didn’t think it was going to be like this. From a virtual freshers week, a testing centre in Murano and zoom lectures, its been quite tough. Freshers have missed out on a lot this year and we wanted to highlight some of the key ways that Covid has affected first years experiences.

Real lectures

Despite being able to attend a lecture in your pyjamas, Zoom lectures are not it. Despite the “interesting course content” and some of you not needing to travel to campus from home, many students think that it would be easier to have face to face seminars and labs. Plus everyone hates break out rooms.

Assignments and Deadlines

Assignments, especially in the first semester of first year, are rather daunting. We asked students  about their opinion on assignments during the pandemic, and one student said that “it is more difficult doing the same amount of work in the same time frame.” and some “have found it challenging to access academic support” and “feel the like the uni shouldn’t be so harsh with work and deadlines”.

Socialising

Whether you enjoy letting off the steam with a night in Hive or playing a sport, the social side of uni is really important and Covid has stripped this away from first years. We asked students via Instagram about their experience so far, and out of  39 responses, 82% of you said that you haven’t been able to get to know course mates. This has been made harder by the fact that the only interaction you have is through course/year group chats, or if you’re lucky enough that you’ve met course mates in halls or on online socials with societies. Students have still been able to join sports clubs and university societies, which is good because these are great places to meet people with similar interests to you. But as we no longer have Wednesday sports socials at Sanctuary, the only way to meet people is through zoom socials, which are never as fun.

Credit – Glasgow University Union on Facebook

 Exploring the Campus

Glasgow Uni campus is picturesque, and there are so many nice spots to see. But at the moment, because all lectures are online and students are unable to return back to Glasgow, they are missing out on this, and hopefully one day will be able to get some Insta worthy pictures in the cloisters.

Mental health

For many first years moving to uni will have been the first time you’ve moved out of your family home and lived alone and had to look after yourself. But since September students haven’t been able to get out of their flats and meet new people and this can be quite lonely. 74% of students via a poll said they felt unsupported by the university in regards to mental health, assignments and the transition from school to university. The lack of actual social interaction for many of you has been a major problem, coupled with the usual stress of assignments cases of mental health issues have, unsurprisingly, occurred.

Speaking to the Glasgow Tab, Eve, a first year medic said: “My first-year experience so far at Glasgow Med School has been fairly positive – I have enjoyed the change from high school to uni and I’ve found the course content really interesting. I moved into halls in September and have enjoyed the social aspect. It helps to have flatmates/other friends I can chat to/relax with after working all day. I have met a few medics from my accommodation and it really helps to speak to them and see how they are coping with the course – It’s good to know that I’m not the only one finding it challenging, especially this year when we aren’t meeting with as many medics as we would have been without COVID-19.

I am currently at home and have been since the Christmas holidays, and am enjoying it but finding it harder to stay productive. I think it helps that in Glasgow I can go to the library and have no distractions. I have gotten used to the pre-recorded lectures – I like these as I’m able to pause them, but I’m not sure how I’ll manage to adapt to in-person lectures when we have to copy notes at the speed of the lecturer. Another thing I have found strange since being online is conducting patient interviews in VS over Zoom – I think this would have been a completely different experience if in person. The course has been fairly challenging and full on, which is what I expected, but I’m looking forward to returning to Glasgow, and hopefully getting some in person classes!”

Another first year student, speaking to the Glasgow Tab, said “Because of the pandemic, I feel that I haven’t been able to socialise as much as I could have during the first semester, being unable to chat to people in lecture halls or attend social gatherings in student flats. My lecturers and tutors, along with various societies have done their best to get students mixing, however doing so behind a screen makes many students apathetic towards this. It’s unavoidable, however, myself and many other students wish it could have been better.”

If you are feel like you need more support, the university has a range of services to access available on the Myglasgow website or SRC Website, GU Nightline and Gu Positive minds. Also, each sports team and society have dedicated welfare convenors that will be able to talk to you about any issues.

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