Incoming university students are worried about how Covid-19 will affect their education

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The uncertainty on what lies ahead for incoming first year college students is poignant with only three months left until they start third level education.

For many it is very difficult during these times to decide what they want to study and where they want to study, as access to information is limited to online resources.

School leavers must rely on the internet and virtual open days to decide where they want to spend the next years of their life building a career for themselves.

Incoming first years that have already decided on a course and what college they want to study in, still have the worry of how college will proceed in the autumn.

This includes how they will be introduced to online learning, how many on campus lectures they will have and what measures are going to be taken to make their college experience as normal as possible.

“I think a lot of first years are worried about what is going to happen, we don’t even know when we are starting college or if it will be online? There has been no clarification to incoming first years as of yet,” said Anna Campbell, a student hoping to begin studying in Trinity this September.

Campbell is worried about starting college this year as she fears that her and her peers will not receive the same college experience and learning benefits as previous college students have.

Starting college is already extremely stressful but for many this stress has been heightened due to Covid-19, as the unknown is still looming over them.

“It has been quite stressful, I think there will be some disruption to the normal timetable a first year would usually have and this could throw students off their courses or routines,” Campbell said.

This is not the case for every incoming first year. Cliodhna Dunleavy is a current leaving cert who hopes to begin studying nursing in DCU this fall, she said: “I have received numerous emails with plans of action for upcoming first years and potential dates for when we may begin college. This made me feel much more at ease. As I adapt to this new way of learning I anticipate that I will have a rewarding and fulfilling college experience.”

However, as it stands these are only provisional dates for when students may begin studying in DCU and other colleges and with a global pandemic still active in our country, nothing is for certain.

It is very difficult for colleges to know what this year will look like in terms of on campus learning, however, this uncertainty is very unfair for incoming first years as they begin third level education.

Aoife Breslin

Image Credit: Maria Bellhassen