2020 - The Year We Went Online

Profile of Abigail Watson 650

By Abigail Watson, First Year Undergraduate Student

This year has been tough for everyone.

The whole world shutting down to control this disease. Everyone needing to do their bit to help out a neighbour, friend and stranger. Starting University is a big new experience for everyone, but this year everyone at university, including staff, lecturers and students had to start a new experience.

An Online University

Never did I imagine I would be sitting at home on multiple Zoom calls a day (just think last year no-one knew what a zoom call was) and watching online lectures and never being on campus. This is the day to day reality for many students.

Some of us are at home, others in halls and we are spread across the world. The same lecture is being watched by someone in Scotland, England, Ireland, Africa and China at the same time. The world is connecting in new ways and so are we. We have all become accustomed to hearing ‘mics off’, ‘camera on’, ‘you’re on mute’, all the joys of Zoom. I think we can safely say that 2020 will be remembered.

Not what I pictured!

As a first-year student this year has not been what I had pictured. I thought I would be getting lost in large masses of buildings and sitting next to complete strangers before a lecture and ending it having had a good time and getting to know people.

But instead I have had no way of getting lost and it has been harder to have conversations with people. I think we can all agree that it is hard for us to find people on our courses and get to know them properly.

I know many of us were looking forward to joining clubs and societies which have had to stop to allow the safety for our world while others have taken to zoom and kept going through these hard times working with new ideas for the online world.

Understanding each other better

Being online does not stop the stresses and worries for us as students we may find relief through handing in and submitting but there is still stress and worry about exams and essays which we all feel in some way.

But all feeling similar allows us to understand each other better, even if we can’t meet in person. It is likely that for us as first-years we will not experience in person lectures for a while but we can still work together and enjoy this year.I think we can all have rough days through this time and it will not just be the first-years who are finding things odd.

New normal

The roughly 37,000 staff and student worldwide community of the University of Glasgow are all experiencing university the same this year, everyone is finding this new.

All the staff and others are working to help us experience university in as normal a way as possible. They too are having to learn on the spot and constantly from one another and the world around them.

This year will go down in history and we are a part of that history living and we effect how it will be remembered. There are many rules and it is tough not getting on campus and enjoying student life to the full but let us be remembered as the students who worked hard and got through this year as best we could and helped out one another as a community at Glasgow.

We will all look back and remember our grandparents trying to work Zoom and the seeing friends and family only through a screen for months on end but this year will be remembered.

First published: 3 December 2020

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