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MY University Experience - Chioma Ani

University life is naturally exciting, enjoyable, difficult, and complicated. The current COVID-19 pandemic has made academic life even more difficult than before. In this blog, I’m going to tell you more about my personal life as a Masters of Public Health (Advanced) student at Torrens University in Australia, who is presently studying online owing to boarder constraints.

Orientation day

First and foremost, university mates are an aspect of academic life that I like. On orientation day, I am always filled with a sense of anticipation, as my mind prepares to meet and establish new acquaintances with whom I will tour the university's four walls together. As a result, I began my experience in Torrens with an online orientation for new students, despite the fact that I was living in a country with extremely unreliable internet access. I was worried and annoyed because I kept getting logged off and on. Because of the time difference between Australia and my native country, the orientation was held in the middle of the night. I was literally fighting to remain awake and participate.

My struggles

I couldn't log into my blackboard to attend online lessons for about two months during the first trimester, which was not amusing at all. Unfortunately, I felt alone because, in a traditional face-to-face classroom situation, I could quickly locate someone to talk to about my problems and receive assistance. After a lengthy period of being anxious and irritated, my success coach eventually reached out to me in some way. It was as if the heavens had suddenly recalled me. Despite the fact that she was unfamiliar with the technical challenges I was experiencing, she still urged me to contact her. Her reassuring comments, on the other hand, were extremely beneficial. For me, this was a big relief. I straightened everything out.

Trimester 1

I was able to log into the online classroom and take my first class. Although it wasn't difficult for me to grasp what was going on, I had missed numerous of the exams. Despite this, I was not discouraged, and since I also have something to eat close. Answering questions in class was a pleasurable experience for me. I double-checked the list of other students at the same time. Making friends with my classmates was a significant setback for me because I feel no one knows what the other person looks like (laughs). Well, I finished my first trimester with mixed outcomes. Against all odds, I don't want to pass through Torrens University's four walls without the university passing through me, but my exploration options were confined to the internet.

Trimester 2

Fast forward to trimester 2, and I am now more confident because I am more familiar with the blackboard navigations. Studies have become more intriguing than before. There was a group assessment to be completed for the most of the time. We were all assigned to a four-person group. As a result, we must speak with one another and prepare the assessment. It wasn't simple, to be honest, because everyone was waiting for the other person to contact them first. So, not being the timid kind, I accepted the group leader position even when no one appointed me, started a WhatsApp group, and wrote emails to the other members of the group asking for their phone numbers so that I could add them to the group. They all did, thankfully, but I still had work to do. I was left with the enormous burden of figuring out what the assignment was all about and assigning tasks to each of my group members, following which they would bring in their work and I would make final revisions and submit.

Getting better

To be honest, this group project brought me closer to the other members of my group. Outside of the assignment, we talked about our current locations, the current circumstances due to COVID-19, and how much we were looking forward to seeing ourselves face to face outside chats and calls. I made some great friends from different countries; some were already in Australia, while others, like me, were still on the other side of Australia. By the end of trimester 3, I had distinctions in the courses I enrolled for. What a huge achievement for me!!!!

Trimester 3

Now I'm in the 3rd trimester of my studies. I'd say academic life hasn't been all that exciting for me lately, owing to the pandemic and not been able to fly to Australia, but I'm still happy in my own little way. Online academic workshops or programmes, as well as competitions, are barely missed by me. This has been quite beneficial in keeping me busy outside of class. I also do a lot of own reading and research to assist me grasp my lectures better. In my spare time, I enjoy watching movies on Netflix, particularly horror and psychological thrillers. You should try see this movie (Squid game), trust me its mind blowing!!!

Shopping and eating out is also one of my stress-relieving activities, so I go shopping and eat at restaurants. Fortunately, because I am completely vaccinated, I have unrestricted access to the majority of public facilities though I still have to observe social distancing, and wearing a face mask.

Overall, keep in mind that it all comes down to willpower in the end. Regardless of the conditions, I am still determined to enjoy every moment of my studies at Torrens.

In a nutshell, this is my experience at Torrens University.

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