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What is it like studying for a degree from home?

Universities have moved their studies online instead of their usual lectures and seminars – and it's proven to be a challenge to many people, including one 40-year-old mature student from Peterborough.
A mature student described his experience of university at the moment (photo: Pixabay)

A day which would usually consist of picking up a coffee and driving 45 minutes into university has now turned into rolling out of bed, getting ready and sitting in front of a computer – sometimes, even getting out for a walk isn't possible. 

For many people, a big part of university is the social aspect you get from the education, and people are missing out on that at the moment. 

The mature student, who wished not to be named, said: "At the moment, I’m sat at my desk at home in front of a computer and that is it for the majority of my day. Normally I’d be at workshops and lectures, interacting with staff and other students.

"Under normal circumstances I’d be travelling and I wouldn’t have the social life most students would have at university. Personally, I feel I’ve lost the social learning aspect, talking and discussing what you’ve learned with your peers, but at the moment it’s hard to even ask questions. 

"The learning is stifled quite a lot, the technology is very good but it’s a case that you’re just sat either reading material they’ve given you, but when you’ve got workshops it’s usually very interactive, but it’s really hard to have conversations on teams and have it flow, it’s more a case that the lecturer just sits and talks at you.

"I think a lot of people are quite shy to speak up, you end up talking over people. Face to face environments you can look at people and pick up on when they’re about to speak through body language but you can’t do that remotely. You can almost set your own agenda and time frame which is a perk, it’s really good – but at the same time that can be quite negative from a time management and motivation point of view."

He added: "Some people can struggle with motivation and honestly when the course first started I found that. I would be sitting down to do something and half an hour later I'd be going off and making a cup of coffee and just finding things to do. Getting motivated and organising my time I find really important.  

"There’s a work life balance that people need to strike too, I find working from home you can be working to 9 to 10pm at night and not seeing people. I’ve not been out of the house in over a week. I walked to the shop for the first time in a week and that was really strange. It’s really important to get up in the morning and get ready for work. I get up, have a shower, get ready and start work."

All students are facing challenges right now, particularly when it comes to the volume of work and understanding their studies.