2020 will be remembered as the year of wholesale destruction of people’s plans with flights to exotic places abroad cancelled and even staycations off-limits.
In addition to the many individuals who will have been furloughed, hopefully for the short term [and some who have been made redundant] there is one special group who will be especially affected – the cohort of students.
I imagine that I am not the only student whose life has been affected by the outbreak of the Covid 19 virus. Coming to the end of my second year of full time studying my modules were closed down before completion. Although neither of the two modules I was following had an examination component they each had an EMA and one an ICMA. Fortunately the ICMA was still live and could be completed. However the lack of the two EMAs denied myself and other students the opportunity to hopefully improve our overall experience and marking attainments.
And for those completing Year 3 such situations are likely to have an even greater impact on future employment prospects and the life which would go with that employment.
Which neatly takes me to personal experiences in this troubled times for those in education at whatever level. I am what is described as a mature student. In fact if I were a cheese being in my seventies I would probably be described as extra mature. Clearly at this stage I am not seeking to improve my employment prospects; although I would find it difficult to turn down any offer which mounted to no less than £100K per annum for no more than four hours work each week. But overcoming the challenge of studying at an older age will fulfil a life time ambition which was not feasible at an earlier age. So, the Grim Reaper aside, and being on online student, I feel assured that I will be able to complete my studies. However age brings other consequences.
I have a granddaughter who is in her final A Level year and looking forward to going to a red brick University. As an aside this was another reason why I chose the Open University. Although I have mixed with much younger people at face to face tutorials [and enjoyed the interaction with different generational views], I did not see myself enjoying participation in their daily extra curricular activities on a regular basis. But back to my Granddaughter who has been accepted at a University, We read every day about the financial problems which higher education is facing and the cuts or methods of delivery which they might have to make Now the course which she had selected as being most appropriate towards fulfilling her ambitions has been withdrawn. This means she will have to pursue a course which she had previously dismissed. I and her parents can only hope that she is not too disappointed and makes the best of the situation in which she finds herself.
This will be as a story much repeated in the cohort who will be moving up to higher education this year.
So that is one impact which Covid 19 has had on one family. That and much worse will have been the experience of far to many other families.
I pen this article having just been released from confinement in my home as, not only am I at risk due to age but have an underlying condition which makes matters worse.
So what does all this amount to? It means that unfortunately the prospects for a generation of students of a particular age and those of any age studying with the Open University will have become more complex. Each of us will need to find our own way out of the quagmire which Covid 19 has brought.
Life for me has improved with release from home confinement. My hope is that life for everyone will recover and that that younger generation will do what previous generations have done and make the best of a poor deal. Each individual’s fate lies in their own hands.