Being a graduate student during Covid-19
When news came that learning institutions should be closed in Kenya due to the Covid-19 pandemic, panic was felt across the country. As a graduate student, this hit me particularly hard. Having joined Strathmore in 2019 with a well laid out plan to graduate in 2021, how would this crisis shift my goal post? My personal, as well as career plans, were all aligned to and heavily depended on this timeline.
After a class break of one week to give the University time to re-adjust and plan accordingly, online classes kicked off. I had many questions running through my mind. Would the content be delivered effectively? How would the lecturers ensure that we have grasped the content? What would happen in case my internet is unstable? How would I juggle between personal, school and work life while at home? The transition was scary!
Before the pandemic, my life was accustomed to a schedule: Leave home early to get to work on time, head to school after work, attend a three-hour class and then head home. By the time I got home, I would always be exhausted.
With the realization of the fact that I would be spending most of my time at home, I had to make this experience worthwhile. I created a plan to ensure none of the three aspects of my life would overlap the other. This, though, was not easy at first.
I’ve had to ensure that I’m on time to attend class. Lecturers have become extra vigilant to ensure that we understand what is taught. This is achieved through the several assignments they give us which have shorter deadlines than the traditional assignments. On a bright side, we no longer need to print out assignments; this reduces printing costs and lends support to the environment sustainability goal. In addition, after class, I do not have to take a ride home. I comfortably switch to working on assignments from my couch. This has accorded me more time to concentrate on my research.
The Strathmore administration team has been a great support to us. Our class administrator is always available during class hours, which has come in handy when I’ve had trouble connecting to the class. His presence ensures we receive support on a real time basis. This has made class attendance seamless unless of course you encounter internet or power outages which leaves your battery running out of charge!
What is also of great interest is that all classes are recorded and regularly uploaded on the e-learning platform. This is a golden resource which we did not have with on campus classes: It comes at great advantage as you can listen to the recording during your own time in the course of the semester. Kudos to the Strathmore team that ensures we have access to learning materials despite being miles away from campus.
The shift to online classes has been an invaluable gain in the Strathmore experience. It has strengthened my confidence in the University as well as being a light at the end of the tunnel. I do not have to worry too much about my plans as there is still hope to achieve all I had in mind within the same time frame.
The article was written by Cynthia Githaiga, a Master of Commerce student.
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