Dundalk IT students have been through the mill over the last year.
Not only have they had their exam results withheld for a time owing to a management dispute with researchers and lecturers, but they have had to adapt to student life during a global pandemic with distance learning, socially distant walks and Zoom classes the order of the day.
A number of the students, including Students' Union president Taidgh Kavanagh, have shared their thoughts on the pandemic situation and it's effect on their student experience this week. You can read what they've had to say below:
Taidgh Kavanagh SU President
“Living in a pandemic setting is something like no other. It really puts into perspective how lucky we were to meet a friend in a coffee shop, meet up as a group and go to a pub or simply just go for a cruise in a car with your pals and have the chats.
“I chose to work in a Students’ Union as I always have enjoyed social interactions. This year, that has been completely taken away from me. From walking through corridors with students bustling to get to their classes to being even lucky to see a face within said corridors. The college experience is nothing like it once was unfortunately just like a lot of things.
“I believe the one thing COVID will teach all of us when it eventually subsides is to cherish all moments whether they be big or small.
“Never again will I take for granted what I once thought was the norm.”
Carl Morris: 3rd Year, Digital Humanities
“I have found learning online difficult and I’m finding its getting more difficult as time passes by. I’m in a better position than a lot of people to adjust to the change brought on by the pandemic, even at that it has brought about severe challenges.
“I can’t begin imagine the hardship that some have gone through during this pandemic from working without pay to not having exam results.
“For me not being able to see your friends, having to write a thesis without seeing professors, doing exams and assignments from my bedroom are all things that I’ve found hard. The most difficult thing about it has been not being able to separate my workspace from my relaxation space, this has contributed to a drop in motivation and general fatigue.
“In saying all of this I know how lucky I am to have all the resources that I do and that I’m not struggling to get online or keep up with my schedule.”
Leah Thornton: 4th year, Business
“COVID-19 has had a major impact on my life. Your 20s are always described as the best years of your life spent partying and travelling. However so far I’ve spent mine baking endless amounts of brown bread, bingeing Netflix, making Tik-Toks and only seeing my friends over Zoom and the furthest I’ve travelled is my back garden.
“I’ve also been attending college online since September, that means spending up to 25 hours in front of my laptop in my room.
“It’s extremely tiring, at the beginning it was great being able to roll out of bed just a few minutes before class but at this stage I wouldn’t even mind getting up at 7am for the bus.
“Although COVID-19 has had mainly a negative impact on everything, it has taught me a lot. Having a concert or a holiday cancelled seemed like a big deal at first and such a big issue but it’s really not.
“The pandemic has put into perspective what is actually important like being able to spend time with your family and friends. It has also taught me to appreciate the little things.