My last bit of in person teaching was cancelled and now I’ve had enough

Quite frankly, I feel like I’ve been scammed


Starting uni in 2020 was always going to be a rollercoaster. We freshers clung to the hope we could have a close to normal uni lifestyle and were promised that somehow, despite a global pandemic, uni would still be a worthwhile and enjoyable experience.

In line with the government’s lockdown, most courses at my uni – Leeds Uni – have now moved entirely online, and most study spaces on campus now require you to book three-to-five working days beforehand for a four-hour slot.

If all that wasn’t enough, my final shred of optimism was taken away when my last remaining bit of in-person teaching was cancelled. I can’t help but wonder why?

Quite frankly, I feel like I’ve been scammed

The experience we’re getting simply doesn’t match up to what we were promised before arriving at uni this year.

Within the months prior to term starting, we received an array of polite emails from Leeds Uni expressing their acknowledgment of the “current situation” and how they were doing “everything in their power” to make sure we have an “amazing experience”. What a load of rubbish that was.

And it seems I’m not alone in my frustration.

‘We’re paying the same amount as previous years and only getting half the experience’

Felix Woods, a first year Journalism student, told The Leeds Tab: “Some of it appears to be laziness from the university.

“It’s definitely not worth £9k and we shouldn’t be charged anywhere near the amount for something which is clearly not worth it.”

Isabel Bramley added: “We’re paying the same amount as previous years and only getting half the experience. The year feels unplanned and all over the place.”

Continuing students expressed similar opinions.

‘If I’d known uni would be this difficult and isolating with the lack of access to university facilities online and on campus, I definitely would have deferred’

Sam, a third-year student told The Leeds Tab: “Honestly, I feel like my third and final year at university has been a robbed from me, and we’ve been forced into something without our consent.

“If I’d known uni would be this difficult and isolating with the lack of access to university facilities online and on campus, I definitely would have deferred.

“Even though uni obviously couldn’t predict what would happen this term with the virus, it feels a bit like we have been lured here under false pretences, and it’s outrageous that the lack of facilities probably won’t result in any mitigating circumstances when it comes to grading our final year.”

Now, more than ever, we need to be able to contact our professors when we need them

I appreciate that online learning is stressful for staff too, but the most depressing part about it is that, although the unis are trying to “deliver a high quality of online learning”, many students are reporting their emails aren’t being replied to by lecturers, leaving them left without access to the tuition they are paying for.

Now, more than ever, we need to be able to contact our professors when we need them.

When asked about the online learning software, Leeds student Heather said: “I’ve spoken to many people who feel they don’t even want to open their laptop to Minerva to catch up after a bad week because it’s like a bloody treasure hunt just to find what you actually need to do.”

Don’t even get me started on the online class malarkey.

I totally understand the need for social distancing, but I can’t help but feel there should be more effort made to guarantee students at least one session of in-person teaching per week. There’s only 48 of us on my whole course, so when I found out it was all going to be online I was totally confused as to why?

A lecture theatre can hold up to 500 people. But seating 48 of them socially distanced, even wearing masks, must be an impossible task, right?

So, it seems many students, like me, feel scammed by false promises of a “close to normal” experience.

We’ve walked right into what feels like a trap: get students to uni, tell them it’s all going to be sunshine and rainbows, then tell them they can’t leave their bedrooms.

I swear, if I get another email talking about the university’s efforts to “ensure university life runs as smooth as possible during these uncertain times”, I’m gonna scream.