MA Fashion Media Practice student, Megan McClelland unpicks the realities of studying for your Masters online during the Coronavirus pandemic, and tells us what it’s really like to be a virtual student in 2020.
The pandemic has rendered academies and universities closed for the time being and for many students around the world that equates to online classes, insecurity and a general wave of disappointment; from not being able to walk at graduation, go to senior prom or carry out the internship they’ve been vying for. Whether or not one subscribes to the conventions of academia, those milestones are celebratory symbols of achievement and moving on in life (a.k.a. good things). It’s easy to feel discouraged and robbed of these experiences, especially when you’re at the foot of online classes looking up at an anti-climatic ending.
Upon speaking to some friends who are enrolled in Master’s programs, I noticed there were a few different concerns moving forward. Global health, being the priority, in addition to how we’re going to manage our demanding curriculums while quarantining – coping with the stresses of school on top of the anxieties induced by Covid-19.
Considerations of dropping out ran rampant, as students grew wary about the quality of the education they’d be getting from online classes. Not being able to reap the benefits of being on campus was a key factor in quality concern, as school libraries and other academic resources have become inaccessible. Another major concern was rooted in an altered participatory experience of the campus community, as we can, obviously, no longer congregate with one another to casually share ideas or support one another while studying.
Thankfully, it’s 2020 and the amount of technology we have at the ready has allowed us to work around this unfortunate circumstance. Of course, the parameters around work have been limited and studying while under a quarantine will demand extra effort from students.
That being said, exercising determination and vigour is nothing new to “student life,” it comes with the territory of being at college. We’re good at not cracking under pressure and can use the extra time not spent travelling to and from Soho to relax or study. Moreover, this period has carved out time to hone-in on one’s personal work ethic and reevaluate what works best for you in your studies. Our college has also implemented the initiative, Hive, into our student life resources, to try and keep us as connected as possible during this time.
The Reality for Master’s Students at CNC
After finishing our first week of classes, I reached out to the Master’s students at Condé Nast College in particular, to see how they’re doing. What I’ve gathered is that the current student climate is a mix of both sides of the situation. It’s been ubiquitously noted that the administrative effort put into organizing our online classes has maintained the college’s real-life teaching standards, despite the disconnect inherent to the situation.
It’s odd seeing yourself in the viewfinder while being in class, but it’s also great to see everyone’s faces again. A student mentioned that it’s been difficult to keep up with incoming assignments while in a different time zone, but that they’ve had a positive experience overall thus far. Despite the drawbacks of remote education, we’re holding it down and hope to see the other side of this soon.
by Megan McClelland, MA Fashion Media Practice: Fashion Journalism Pathway