Returning to university amid a pandemic

Salwa studies Radiography and is an experienced Widening Participation Ambassador at City.

Returning to campus in autumn has been super exciting and long-awaited for many!

University staff and students across the university alike are beginning to resume to normalcy… Or rather, the closest we have felt to this since Spring 2020. Not to mention City’s visitors – who have also been looking forward to this as the university hosts a range of events for the public.

The Autumn term – which is the start of the new academic year for most courses at City – has witnessed busier university spaces with a much livelier presence and has brought about a lot of changes at City compared to the previous year.

So, what has changed at City for this academic year so far?!

Undergraduate and postgraduate courses have re-introduced some face-to-face learning. This means in-person teaching is being delivered in seminars, tutorials, and practice workshops. These are typically in smaller groups in comparison to the larger lecture sessions.

As a student part of the School of Health Sciences at City this is great news for myself and my classmates.

We now have a balanced mix of online learning – which is incredibly helpful for flexibilityas well as in-person learning which is great as we have the opportunity to actively learn together and support one another. This has been particularly important for our studies for our revision tutorials; it’s a great opportunity to speak directly with our lecturers and ask any questions.

As a healthcare student, we also get to see our lecturer or personal tutor weekly in-person at our hospital placements; throughout the previous year, this was all done virtually. As most of our studies last year was facilitated online, it has been encouraging to occasionally be able to go into campus and meet our cohort and lecturers more regularly.

There is now a hybrid model of work in place at City which means we see more of a presence of the university staff. Many student support services have now returned in-person on campus – which has been extremely useful! It’s good to know that if you are at home or away from campus, they are only one call or email away and it’s even better to know that if you are on campus, you can drop-by to access these services and speak to a member of staff in person too.

The Student Union has returned to normal reception desk hours, and we can see our Sabbatical Officers such as our Student Union President and Vice Presidents around more on campus giving more of a community feel that we missed last year.

All shops, cafes and canteens across the university buildings have re-opened which is great for the social aspect of university and for convenience.

“Returning to campus so far has felt welcoming, positive, and uplifting for many who look forward to hopefully spending the rest of the academic year ahead on campus.”

Taking a walk across campus at any point during the week and you will find…

Many study spaces are always in use now, especially compared with the previous summer term and former academic year. If you have a favourite study spot, then it is best to come early to secure the seat you want! Although this is something you have to plan ahead for, I personally like this as it makes it more of a motivating, focussed and productive environment to study when there are more students around doing the same.

Study spaces can now be used without restrictions. Being open till late has been really helpful; for the night-owls, for working students, those with other commitments and responsibilities during the day who rely on university spaces being accessible late.

There are also more lecture rooms available to study in this term.

Some teaching ends in the evenings, which means it’s a fairly busy campus from morning through to the evening.

Food stalls, societies and events are now back on!

University societies have also started to resume in-person events. These have been highly anticipated with a packed turn out of attendees!

Walking along the main corridor we can now see the previously vacant stalls back in use and operating once more!

The societies at City have taken full advantage of this and every day this week in November so far, they have been offering a range of delicious baked goods along with international dishes and snacks – with all proceeds going to charity.

Although we can see the return of many events and services, there are also many new things at City too!

The new City Law building is now officially open. The university has also created a new student common room along with more spaces to relax and socialise nearby.

Want to read more about university during and after the pandemic? Read Sarea’s post on returning to campus.

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