What is your experience of online learning?
I have currently completed my third year and am embarking upon my final and most exciting year. This is a very crucial time for me as internship opportunities and grades play a pivotal role in my future endeavors. I was under the impression that attending online classes from back home would have a drastic impact on my grades, however my experience last semester was quite the contrary.
What are the benefits of online learning?
I would really like to use this opportunity to thank the entire faculty and all the staff members of St Andrews, as they must have worked relentlessly to ensure that the quality of education does not dilute for their students. From making sure all the required books were available online to being lenient with extensions when required, the university has made sure that the students have remained their top priority.
My professors have been readily available to video call, answer innumerable questions through emails, and have held regular tutorials to ensure that we have an interactive semester. This has given me the opportunity to get to know my professors even better than I would have if I were physically present at the University. I even ended up making new friends while working as a united bunch of classmates helping each other out when needed.
How did the University support you during the move to online learning?
Initially, when the pandemic began to pan out, many of us were panic-stricken. The university, however, stood strong, kept us calm, and continues to do so today as well. They present regular detailed updates to all students and staff members via email and on the University website. They have even set up a Coronavirus Helpdesk within the Advice and Support Centre to triage all students’ questions and inquiries. Besides being medically equipped, the university has also prepared accommodation for students and staff members who may need to self- isolate in case they contract the virus.
Have you still been able to join in social events?
I have never had a dull moment in St Andrews- from a plethora of different committees and societies I've tried out, to all the crazy events and traditions, to just walking around town enjoying the breath-taking views and bumping into my friends every step of the way. I can confidently vouch that this University is just like one big strong family where everyone has each other’s back. Additionally, I have never been to a town safer than St. Andrews. I walk alone on the streets in the wee hours of the night without any fear whatsoever. Probably my most frightening experience till now has been a seagull swooping up and scooping the food from my hand.
What would you say to students who are joining St Andrews in September?
Even though your freshman year experiences may be a bit different than usual, this is only a small hiccup in your journey. You can be assured your overall online learning will be the best possible educational experience where your interactions may be virtual but fulfilling. I sincerely hope that this small deterrent will not come in the way of possibly the best four years of your life at St Andrews.