The recent pandemic (Covid-19) has impacted education systems in universities around the world. The impact has been dramatic for institutions, academics, and students looking for workable short term solutions for online teaching and learning. The unique challenge facing higher education encouraged DEN to look for opportunities to stay in contact with students using online facilities. Through the academic initiative, we invited students to meet and organise feasible and appropriate projects at this time. Using Inside Westminster we have agreed that students will write an article and or provide a 5 minutes video of their reflection and experience of Covid-19. We have encouraged students from all over the world to express their stories and share them with each other, hoping that this would provide a channel not only to learn but also to engage with each other. Hence, the following articles in this section are students’ reflections/experiences of Covid-19.
As a recent graduate who was eager to find my work relevant to my career, the Coronavirus pandemic had swept in very unexpectedly. With the economy taking a big hit and all the major businesses suffering finding a job at times felt backbreaking. Despite all this, I believe this pandemic that we are still going through has actually taught us more than we may have ever known if it did not happen. I would argue one of the most basic but fundamental aspects that Coronavirus has highlighted is that we are all human. As simple as this may sound, I mean it in the sense that none of us is immune to this virus. With figures such as Boris Jonhson and Jair Bolsonaro (Brazilian Prime Minister) having contracted it despite their positions in society, the playing field is levelled when it comes to this.
Another key lesson Covid-19 has taught me personally is what is truly valuable in life, my family friends, and the connections I have made over the course of my life. I say this because I went from someone who had been living my life on autopilot to waking up one day with no plan of what I was going to do and where to even start. Over the course, this taught me so much about myself and what I was capable of. Within a week in I formulated a timetable which included me learning Python (Compute coding language), applying for career jobs and learning French. Within a few weeks, this was the comfortable routine that I had followed even now as we progress towards the end of lockdown. Personally, I believe that this would not have been possible without an event like Covid to show me what I was actually capable of.
In addition to how valuable life is, time is another area Covid-19 has stressed the importance of. Before the pandemic, there were certain things I had always pushed back and had been reluctant n doing simply because I believed I never had the time for it. The truth is that it was never about having enough time to complete something but instead me not being able to priorities things well. A few weeks in I saw the range of tasks I was getting done just by simply managing my time more efficiently.
The lessons this pandemic had taught me about mother nature itself has also been very eye-opening. For example, when it comes to the constant reminders from non/government organisations and also heads of states pledging a change will happen in the future, Coronavirus has sped up his process and set the bar in what is achievable. With fewer cars on the road and power plants being temporarily closed, the thick smog which covered china at times had cleared up. Satellite images of Asia and the missile east showed how over the drop in pollution globally was incredible. Carbon monoxide levels fell 48%, as well as greenhouse gasses. This demonstrates that the rapid fall in pollution and harmful chemicals being pumped into the air only happed when our lives were in danger and we were forced to cooperate. Nevertheless, it is clear this is achievable now and we must all take the lessons we have learnt from Covid-19 and implement them in our lives in the future.
Abdirazak Yassin, BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations (2016-19)