Rianna is studying for an MA in Sport at the University of Bedfordshire. Discover how the lockdown inspired Rianna to help fellow students
How have the lockdown restrictions impacted your university experience?
The lockdown restrictions have impacted me, as I was unable to graduate. That was a big blow as throughout my course I used graduation as a form of motivation. I also had to have meetings with my supervisor over zoom instead of face-to-face to discuss my work. It forced me to take more of an independent approach to get the best out of the meetings and develop my work, as my supervisor wasn't as accessible as everything was done virtually.
How did you use your time during lockdown?
I started lockdown in a bit of a funk trying to figure out how I was going to adapt to online learning and the realisation that I wasn't able to graduate. But as time progressed, I started to use the time to acknowledge what skills I had developed during my time at university and how I can transfer these skills to the jobs I want to apply for.
You've also been helping other students, tell us more about that…
During lockdown I've had to acknowledge that change inevitable. This is why I decided I wanted to help students, as I wasn't taught this at university, even in career guidance sessions. I wanted to teach students how to adapt to the changes that may occur in their lives, especially as graduates and help them realise that they can learn so much through lockdown and use it as a foundation for their own journey's.
I ran zoom meetings covering various topics such as adapting to online learning, how to deal with change, developing your critical thinking skills etc. I also used Instagram and YouTube to communicate with students, answering any questions they had. I built a network of people, including graduates, lecturers and higher education specialists to provide advice on how students can manage this time effectively.
How will you be able to use this experience when applying for jobs?
I will be able to use this experience when applying for jobs as I'll be able to display how I used my transferable skills in moments of adversity.
What support did you receive from your university during lockdown?
I received support from my supervisor, as she made sure that I was able to adapt to studying online. I also had consistent meetings, which allowed me to ask questions if I didn't understand something. The University of Bedfordshire provided good communication. I felt supported and that I could speak to someone if needed.
How do you feel you've coped with the changes the pandemic has brought about?
I think I have coped really well but there were good and bad days. I've never experienced anything like the lockdown before so initially it came as a shock to the system. I have come out of this pandemic more knowledgeable, not just about my industry but how to transition effectively after university. I have surprised myself, that even though I was nervous about the pandemic, I used my ability to influence and speak to others, to encourage other students during this time.
What are your next steps and how positive do you feel about them?
The lockdown has inspired a desire to help students so my next steps have changed. I am now looking to work within higher education, dealing in particular with student transitions as I have a passion to ensure that students leave university knowing how to deal with the changes they will experience. I will look into a PHD to explore this further.
Find out more
- Discover 7 ways to improve graduate employability in lockdown.
- Learn tips for studying from home.
- Find out more about online learning.