Preparing for Student Life Living Within the ‘New Normal’

Katie Upton | Lifestyle Editor

In a matter of months, our world has been turned upside down. These whirlwind few months have meant for a time of reflection upon student life and the things we take for granted. Whether it’s nights out at the SU or Medicine, catch-ups in Crosslands or simply being able to work in the library. We’ve all experienced a change in university lifestyle. As the start of term is fast approaching, it’s time to think about how these changes are going to affect us and how we can still make the most of these valuable years of our lives.

How will social distancing on campus affect the typical student experience?
Whilst there is still a large degree of uncertainty surrounding the activities that will take place throughout the academic year. Many societies have already confirmed some of the events that will be taking place, particularly those within the sports and fitness departments.

The Student Union (SU) has now released the event list for Freshers’ Festival meaning that there’s now a host of government-approved events to help you interact with other students. For more information on specific events and dates, please visit the SU website at; https://www.su.rhul.ac.uk/freshers/2020/

I spoke to Samantha Knowles (Social Secretary) and Elena McCaffrey (Careers and Education Officer) from the Liberal Arts Society Committee to hear their views on adjusting to the ‘new normal’ and how they plan to keep society members safe when hosting events.

“We are so excited to welcome new and returning members of the Liberal Arts Society. Our Society is all about connecting students in a safe and fun environment to make friends and educate ourselves. As well as socially distanced events we are using Zoom and Instagram lives to connect students, societies and lecturers so that your year is filled with memorable experiences with your cohort. This is a strange new normal but we are diving straight into it to make sure you don’t miss out on anything! Make sure to follow our socials to see what groovy events we have coming your way!”
Flexible learning 2020/21:
Alongside changes to our social lives, we now face a new challenge. Coping with the balance of online vs. face to face learning. College IT providers have implemented the use of MS Teams to deliver virtual content to students from the comfort of their own home.

Recent updates provided by college Principal Paul Layzell indicate that lectures will be provided online, in a format where students can take their time and rewatch the pre-recorded content at a time that is convenient to them. These lectures form part of the flipped learning initiative where students will take part in socially distanced seminars, labs and tutorials on campus. The combination of these learning techniques should create a safe environment for students to learn. The library should be resuming it’s in-person services, allowing students to use the well-loved study space again.

University life may not be the same as it once was, but we can still make the most of the next academic year by making the most of the opportunities available and supporting one another through these unprecedented transitions.

 

Illustration from Rebecca Weigler

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