Covid-19 was an unprecedented pandemic that had had a serious effect on how we learn and live today. On Thursday the 12th of March, we were told at the University that all schools will be closed for 2 weeks and then we will be informed thereafter. This was an emergency call for every one of us as we were preparing for our dissertation and we were attending tutorial classes with our supervisors. It was hard to think about how to proceed without the opportunity to attend classes, to meet fellow students and to use library facilities. My placement practice was also impacted because some activities planned and scheduled were all cancelled due to Covid-19. I had a lot of concerns when lockdown started. For example, thinking about how to continue to learn from home. When all lectures and learning were moved online this created some anxiety for me. I worried about how I will begin to use video call software. Home virtual learning also caused me distress because I constantly had to think of a spot where I need to sit in my room to avoid displaying the background in my room. Sometimes I felt I have to rearrange the background to look presentable before the online class.
I always thought staying at home will be helpful to get a substantial amount of college work done but this time I found it even more difficult to concentrate and to read. At times my neighbours will begin to use a chain saw to cut the trees, sometimes they would use mower machine to cut grass. In another case, neighbours would be fixing or renovating their house. The constant noise and the fact that I couldn’t really plan my study time put a lot of pressure on me because I had to work on my project and assignments, I have deadlines and had nowhere else to go to do my work.
This pandemic also had a little impact on mental health, especially because my family aren’t in Ireland which also add more stress to the way I have struggled with my academic work. There were times I wonder when this whole lockdown would be over just because I have no family member around and sometimes, I just missed a “big teddy bear hug”. My Family are far away, and here I am in Ireland where I need to keep 2 meters distance from everyone around me. I understand this is hard on everyone, and each individual have their challenges.
I had received great support from my lecturers, where required I was given an extension to complete my project and assignments. I appreciate the effort my university made to provide useful information to students on how to cope with COVID-19. The government of Ireland and HSE had also put in place important materials online that had to help me to navigate through this period. I also called my family regularly which is another way I have stayed connected to spend time with them virtually.
Lockdown caused by COVID-19 has was not foreseeable. It happened and immediately we had to learn a new way to live. However, there is learning I have taken out of it. I have realised that it is important to spend quality time with my family and people I love. I have also learned to appreciate life and be thankful for all that I have or achieved. I am using this opportunity to pass on a message. As John Donne said: No man is an Island. One lesson coronavirus has taught us is to be united, and that’s how we are fighting the virus today. I would like to encourage all early year’s specialist, educators and tutors to unite so that we can all work together to support young children’s learning.