Lockdown Bringing Regional Students Together
23 Sep 2021 Sarah Rolton, CUC Far West Education Programs Coordinator
I was hesitant in writing a blog about lockdown, the over-saturation of lockdown-related content comes in waves across our devices, memes, blogs, videos, new articles – you name it, we’ve seen it! However, something special has been brewing in our student community in the Far West.
Over the past two months, I have been chatting with students for CUC Far West’s new podcast series ‘Degrees Closer’. Whenever I ask about the challenges of studying regionally, the response circles around not having another student in their course or units to share thoughts on assignments or reflect on the last lecture over a coffee.
I realised lockdown presented more shared experiences between our students. Students have been rallying together on our Facebook group and virtual events. It dawned on me, the common threads were abundant. We were all at home, wearing multiple hats – some with different labels’ parent’, ‘teacher’, ‘essential worker’ and of course ‘student’, juggling it all. Essentially increasing our relatability to each other.
The light bulb moment came yesterday as I posted a question in our Facebook community Uni Students in the Far West. The question read, “I need some help! What are your tips for managing work and study from home? For those that have kids, add that into the equation too. How do you do it ‘all’?”
And the flood gates opened for our students to share their struggles and offer practical advice! Not only did the response represent the vibrant community we have co-created, but it also demonstrated how resourceful, resilient and thoughtful our students are. They were eager to help.
Students shared the challenges with the group in navigating family life, all while fitting in work and study.
Struggling a lot with this as well. I usually live a very structured life but constantly being interrupted is making it harder to get my work and study done. Very behind with uni! I’d be keen for tips. I didn’t realise how much I relied on kid free time to get things done. So grateful there’s no homeschooling for two weeks as well.– Gayle (Student)
It’s impossible. I’ve had to get extensions this semester which is something I’ve never ever done in my life – Karen (Student)
The commonality of the experience springboarded a brilliant thread of advice. I am usually on the other end of providing support to students. It was heartwarming to see our students play their role in wrap-around support, I felt like I truly belonged to the community!
I won’t keep the advice to myself. Here are some gems some of our students contributed
5am starts & lots of coffee. I’ve also set up the camper trailer in the shed. When hubby’s home I tell the kid I’m going to the uni centre and sneak off to the shed – Emily (Student)
If you were to allocate spaces for school, sleep, food, entertainment and work. Communicate the areas and the rules of each area clearly. Eventually, you will flow through those spaces with your family easier. Communication is at the heart of the way through. Good luck. – Cory (Student)
Structure, routine, and realistic expectations. Most importantly though, you need a support structure around you that enables you to do all of the above. That structure looks different for everyone – Luke (Student)
I’ve been staying back at work and studying lately and it’s been so much easier! – Indiana (Student)
Parents shared their tips on occupying kids to squeeze in study time.
I had to let go that my babe was going to using electronics a lot, but we did always plan and enjoy recess and lunch together where would chat and have fun! Being organised with activities helped as well. – Bec (Student)
Something has to give (at least in our case) it’s either let them be independent
and stay up cleaning or be with them and stay up studying/ working – Giti (LSA)
I initially reached out to our students for advice and some practical solutions to my own challenges of being lockdown. In addition, I found a community that was there to support each other, willing to connect, and I am so proud to be a part of it.
If you are a registered student of CUC FW join our online community Uni Students in Far West. Be ready for some hilarious memes and the opportunity to converse with a network of students. If you are studying in the Far West and would like to access Learning Skills Advice and benefit from Wrap Around Support you can register your interest here!