By Rachel Garvey
Following the closure of universities all over Ireland, and further afield, many students were left with a huge deal of uncertainty surrounding their forthcoming assignments, exams, and degrees in general. SIN spoke to a few NUI Galway students to hear their concerns and personal opinions of how the virus has affected them on a personal scale.
Daniel Granahan is in his Final Year of Arts with Geography and English and shared how the University closure will affect him, telling SIN: “It’s made everything very different, as I am a final year student and my last year has been cut short, so my time with my college friends has been shorted, which is upsetting. I feel a little lost and confused, as I’m trying to hear about exams and assignments and lectures. I know people are still working on their dissertations and need to do interviews for gathering data and now that can’t be completed. Honestly, it is really confusing for me. For the people who live in rural areas, there can be really bad internet connection, which is why I’m still living in my student accommodation in Galway city, as it has good WiFi rather than the bad internet connection in my hometown of Sligo. Safety is also another thing that concerns me. My housemates and I have been cleaning the house non-stop. We clean every table and surface that we use. We also worry about rent and what we will have to eat”.
Austin Curran of Third Year Applied Physics revealed how the last few weeks have been physically and psychologically draining, speaking of the boredom attached with having to stay at home for prolonged periods, stating: “The past few days of being in isolation has been very draining, not only physically but psychologically. Not being able to leave the house gets boring and makes me want to leave the house and having to stop myself from doing so is quite difficult. When I do go out for reasons like having to pick up supplies, I harbour a bit of guilt because not only am I putting myself at risk, but others too. It has had a huge impact on my lifestyle and I am looking forward to the day where I can resume my normal life again”.
Lidia Shafik studying Medicine told SIN about the difficulties that the spread of COVID-19 is having with regard to work placements, which Lidia claims is hindering students’ learning experience, claiming: “The most annoying thing is the unpredictability; not knowing when the exams will be or how they’ll do it! Also, being a medical student and not being allowed on any placement is definitely hindering the learning from the experience side of things. I’m hoping the exams account for this or there’s some way to make up for the lack of experience soon!”
International student Ceci Foster, who is currently stranded in the United States, told SIN of her concerns with not being able afford her tuition fees due to the knock-on affect the virus is having on internships, revealing: “I was travelling to visit my grandmother and I got stuck here in California. I’ve been unable to work or attend my internship, so I’m getting worried about making enough money to pay my tuition next year. I am totally relying on my family to support me right now and I can only imagine how hard it would be for someone without the support system that I have”.