‘My anxiety is the highest it’s ever been’: Lincoln students share their experiences of pandemic burnout

‘I never feel like I come away from a seminar having learned something’

After over a year of countless restrictions, lockdowns and social distancing rules, pre-COVID normality seems a distant memory. Whilst we can look forward to the easing of restrictions enabled by the vaccine rollout, many students at the University of Lincoln remain in online learning over 12 months from its first introduction.

Whilst students on practical courses who need access to facilities and equipment on campus have resumed face to face teaching, students on all other courses must continue studies remotely until the timing of the return of students is reviewed by the government at end of the Easter holidays. The effects of the continued absence of face to face learning cannot be underestimated, with students sharing concerns of poor mental health, and a lack of motivation and support.

The Lincoln Tab spoke to students about the real impact of months of remote learning at the university.

Issues with online learning

A Law student told The Lincoln Tab:  “Because it’s all been online it’s really hard to take seriously, especially lectures. Our law lectures get recorded and they don’t monitor attendance so I’ll tell myself that I’ll do it later in the day but half the time I never get round to it.”

They also explained that “seminars are a struggle”, due to the groups being “too small” for an online class. “If there isn’t a person that is willing to talk, the others won’t, it’ll be awkwardly silent,” they said.

“Obviously this can happen face to face but where seminar leaders can see you in person and point you out it does make it easier. I never feel like I come away from a seminar having learned something. Which is not the seminar leaders fault by any means, it’s just hard to take it seriously when it’s online, I could so easily just have it on in the background while I lay in bed and fall asleep.”

Another student who studies biochemistry said: “The online lectures have been difficult for students anyway as it is a new way of absorbing information and is not as effective as face to face teaching.

“If I stare at screens for too long I end up getting migraines – I have tried the blue light glasses, reading glasses and prism lenses but they haven’t resolved the issue. I’ll sit and focus on the lecture and type up my notes, then have to rest and wait for my migraine to fade before I can continue to do anything else. It’s resulted in a massive dip in my grades.”

Lack of motivation and poor mental health

One student expressed issues regarding motivation. They said: “My motivation for uni has completely disappeared to the point where I’m stressed out about work but I’ll leave it until the last minute because it stresses me out. After losing motivation it’s probably the hardest thing ever to gain back.”

They also cited issues with their mental health as a result, “Once a couple of months went by it was just the same routine, like most would go to the library but I’ve been paranoid and too anxious to go into the library to even do work. It’s gotten to the point where I’m quite depressed due to sitting indoors on my laptop for a stupid amount of hours trying to do work or find the motivation to do work,” they said.

Another student at the university said: “I just feel like all my motivation for projects is gone. I came into second year planning to focus on my studies and do better but since lockdown, everything has gone to crap.

“My anxiety is the highest it’s ever been which makes joining the teams calls even trickier.”

University of Lincoln Student Support Centre remains open, as does Student Wellbeing and the Health Centre. Students can also access support from Student Services online.

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