The first half of the academic year is already over. For each student, the college experience this year has been very different, the times most students have physically spent on campus can probably be counted on one hand. In the news, people are often told that the pandemic is making it very difficult for students, for example, to concentrate properly, to get social satisfaction and to feel that they are actually engaged in a study. Are these news reports true though? Is it not that bad as is being said? Or are students' experiences actually worse than is being reported? In a survey for first-year students of the Faculty of Social Sciences, this was explicitly asked. The survey asked what first year students miss the most, where they study due to circumstances, how they like the online classes and what their expectations are of the rest of the academic year. 

First, students were asked what their expectations were for the first half of the year. Almost every student had predicted that the lectures would be taught in a hybrid form. The hybrid form consisted of partly online lectures and partly physical lectures on campus. In the beginning of the year this worked out quite well and there were indeed moments when there was a possibility to follow the lectures on campus. Unfortunately, this did stop fairly quickly when measures became stricter around November and education switched to a whole form of online education. 

When asked what students miss the most now that they have minimal access to campus, it was found that the majority of students really lack the social interactions that take place on campus. Think of attending a lecture in a lecture hall, rather than isolated at home behind a laptop, studying together with friends and classmates, and the simple "chit chats" with other students you meet in the halls. Studying at home by yourself also falls under one of the characteristics of Corona-times and is, well, not something to talk positively about. When asked where students study the most nowadays, it emerged that more than half are at home and a number of students choose to go to the library. Whether students could concentrate at home was very clear, namely 'No'. For many students, there are simply too many things at home that lead to distraction and the home environment gives them no motivation to study. In the library, however, the ability to concentrate was still reasonably present. 

The quality of the online lessons was also questioned. With a scale from 1, very bad to 10, very good, a mark could be given that described the quality of the online lessons. This showed that the average grade was around 4.7. Not remarkably high as can be seen. In addition, it was indicated what the not so good quality is due to. Students showed that it is not so much the teachers' lack of quality, but more the fact that they get bored very quickly by the feeling that they actually get nothing in terms of information. In addition, aspects such as 'zoning out' during an online lecture and being distracted by something that is within reach also contribute to the quality. 

Finally, students were asked about what they hope to see change in the second half of this year. Almost every student hopes to be able to attend lectures again in at least hybrid form. In addition, students also hope to be able to do activities outside the university such as sports activities and going to a café, restaurant, etc. with friends after a lecture. Whether these expectations can be met, no one knows, but the best we can do now is accept the current circumstances and try to stay as positive as possible! 

Now, as a student, would you like to know how you can concentrate better in a home environment and ensure that you don't end up in a 'downward spiral'? Download the attachment on this page: 

Lots of love,

The Media Committee