Keeping connected off-campus: Tanya Khan on university life under lockdown

17 June 2020

As students adjust to studying at home, MSc Business with Marketing ambassador, Tanya Khan shares her experience of how university life is continuing off-campus. From socialising with friends to participating in online lectures.

Netflix, Nintendo Switch, and navigating time zones

With everyone in different time zones around the world, it has been extremely interesting staying in touch with university friends. Even though we are going through very difficult times, it has been fun to try out different technology to keep connected. Zoom has been a fantastic tool for us to get as many people as possible connected at once. We have been organising regular quizzes and chats, sometimes at very unusual times to suit as many of us as possible.

As well as this, we have been using things like Netflix Party to feel like we’re in the same room when watching films. It simply adds a sidebar to your Netflix viewing and allows you to chat with one another when watching a film at the exact same time. We also tried out the House Party app – it’s great for playing games whilst in a video call with your friends.

Just as lockdown started, a few of my friends and I downloaded the Animal Crossing game on the Nintendo Switch. We often interact on there by visiting one another’s islands and hosting fun virtual events. Whilst we might not all be in the same place or on campus, we have still remained very connected.

Staying involved with student societies

Prior to lockdown, I actively participated in the University newspaper, The Boar. Since we have been unable to host activities in-person, we have been doing various quiz nights and using Netflix Party to watch films as a group. This has been a great way to remain involved in the social aspect of the society in these isolating times. As well as this, the editors of the newspaper have continued to share pitches that you can choose to write about. It’s a great way to create a work-life balance and improve your journalism skills

One of the most interesting things I have done during lockdown is be a guest on the University’s radio channel, RAW. This is something I never would have considered trying in-person, so conducting the show online was an incredible way to ease into trying out radio hosting. We were able to record the show through a voice call, and the team were then able to edit this to make sure it fit into the hour segment with ads. Even though this is something completely out of my comfort zone, I really enjoyed trying something new and creative! I would definitely recommend joining the Student Union’s Corona Community on Facebook to see some of the exciting things different societies are hosting to keep us connected. 

Accessing wellbeing support from home

Even though we aren’t on campus at the moment, wellbeing support has still been very much accessible. There has been the option to either conduct sessions by phone or via email, depending on each individual’s preference. I opted for an email appointment for convenience. To do this, you are provided with your counsellor’s details through the Wellbeing Portal a few days in advance of your session. You have to email your query to the specific email at least 48 hours before the appointment, and your counsellor will email you back within the appointment time. I find it much easier to communicate like this, rather than over the phone, so I found this method very convenient.

As well as the University’s Wellbeing Support Services, WBS has been extremely communicative and helpful in answering any queries we have with lectures and assignments. This has been very assuring – even though this is a new experience for all of us, they have been very transparent and helped however they can to accommodate any problems we might have had in working from home. The team are all lovely and quick to reply, so it has been a very smooth transition from in-person lectures to online teaching.

Find out more about our portfolio of MSc courses here.