Lessons in online learning and resilience from lockdown veteran Chloe
Law student Chloe Galileos is almost halfway through her degree – but has experienced only two weeks of full-time on-campus learning. The rest has been spent either entirely online or as blended learning. So how has this self-described ‘lockdown learning veteran’ coped during this rollercoaster and what has she learned about herself?
‘COVID has pulled a number on my university experience,’ Chloe says, ‘and I regularly catch myself questioning what normal is anymore. At the conclusion of my first year, I knew nothing other than online learning, sitting at my computer, engaging over Zoom and a lack of face-to-face contact with both students and professors.
‘At the beginning of my first trimester of my second year, a blended learning approach was adopted, and I finally got to attend class on campus. While most of my classes remained online, I was overjoyed with the ability to enter a classroom even just once a week. Trimester 1 saw many highs and many smiles, brought me more time to spend with my best friend and allowed me to create some amazing new friends.
‘Normal has now become living with lockdowns and appreciating the small moments I get on campus. Normal is not wondering when we will get out of lockdown but feeling grateful for the time I have a university experience that mirrors even a small portion of what pre-COVID university life was like. Normal is learning how to adapt to online learning while still staying motivated. And normal is growing the friendships I created on that first week way back in 2020 that I was so fortunate to receive.’
Chloe (bottom row, far right) with friends in a non-lockdown time!
Chloe says the prolonged nature of the pandemic, the unpredictability and the constantly changing nature of restrictions has made things especially challenging. She thinks that it’s natural to experience both highs and lows in these circumstances.
‘Adaptability has become my best friend and balance has grown to be ever so important. As lockdown fatigue has really hit hard during this round, finding the right amount of time to dedicate to studying while also creating little tasks to look forward to away from my computer has been my stepping stone for sticking to another online trimester.
‘Struggling with a lack of connection to friends and peers makes lockdown learning even harder. Finding a way to keep those connections alive creates the building blocks for motivation and helps push me through that Groundhog Day feeling.
‘As I come to almost the end of my second year, I have thrown out the idea of a pre-COVID normal and learnt to accept the uniqueness that has been and will continue to be my university experience and education. Having been through such a crazy two years and still in lockdown, I reflect on whether I would do anything differently. Of course, I’d love to be on-campus full-time; however, I wouldn’t change how I have approached online learning.
‘Online learning in lockdown and the ever-changing environment has increased my patience, motivation and adaptability, and taught me the importance of self-care and connection, and the need for balance.
‘Take it from someone who knows lockdown learning all too well: planning for change is a lifesaver. While lockdowns feel like they go on forever, or are around every corner, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel – and university life will undoubtedly be waiting at the other end.’
Do you need some support?
If lockdowns are getting you down, or you’re not coping with study or other pressures, there’s plenty of support available. During Mental Health Month, we’re encouraging you to ‘tune in’ to your own wellbeing through our range of activities and resources. You should also check out our amazing Mind Matters Student Art Exhibition, which features some incredible artworks that reflect on mental health and wellbeing.
You can also:
- Talk to one of our student mental health experts by making a telehealth appointment with a Deakin counsellor. You can easily book online.
- Visit our Ask Counselling blog to see what issues other students have been struggling with, and for advice from Deakin counsellors.
- Contact LifeLine (13 11 14) or SuicideLine (1300 651 251) for urgent help outside of business hours. In an emergency, call Triple Zero (000).
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