I missed you, uni

I missed you, uni

Student Andrew Wech shares his experience of studying at home and what he is enjoying about being back on campus.

Lockdown gave student Andy Wech time to contemplate how important on-campus life is.

It’s easy to take everything for granted. When I was in Wellington for those first few, precious weeks of Trimester 1, I found it all too easy to find the negatives of being at university. My courses were too hard, there wasn’t enough time in the day to study, and the hill leading up to the University was too damn steep. All those worries and concerns quickly washed away though, when I found myself on a bus headed up north one day before the country went into lockdown, and the University was going on a break.

When New Zealand went back into alert level 2, I made the conscious decision to stay at home. I thought that I didn’t need the campus to study, didn’t need my friends to study with, didn’t need Uni Rec classes…boy was I wrong.

Before starting study at home in week 4, I had all of these lavish expectations of how I was going to be more productive than ever, with no more time spent distracted talking to friends between lectures. These study habits were going strong for all of about two hours until I realised that while I could now watch my lectures in my bedroom, I could just as easily open Netflix between Zoom meetings to ‘just have a quick break’ which ended up costing me 2 hours of study time. What I didn’t realize at the time was just how much I relied on both friends and the library to truly buckle down and study. I didn’t realise the value of having a gym 20 metres away from the lecture theatre, or the importance of being around other people studying. Ultimately, I didn’t realise just how much that I relied on the Kelburn campus to actually study.

The historic, iconic, Hunter Building—Andy’s favourite building at the Kelburn campus.

By about week 8, staying at home got too much for me to handle. I missed being able to go for walks around the city when I got too stressed to continue to study and I couldn’t have group study sessions with my friends doing the same courses as me. These factors meant that I started really losing sight of myself, my goals, and even the reason why I was studying in the first place. Thankfully, amidst these times I still had a few loyal friends on Messenger, and we got through the tough times—surviving the trimester together.

Heading into this trimester I had a whole different appreciation for the University, for the students, lecturers, and even the city itself. While there are also things that I learnt from being online (how to ask effective questions, self-management), I now believe that even when I am stressed, I will always appreciate the value of being on campus.

A beautiful sunset at Andy’s house during the level 4 lockdown. He’d rather be at uni, though.

I am super excited to be back at the University now. What I’ve realised is that sometimes studying is not always about the destination but the journey. My tips for students who are studying on campus would be to explore the library and find places where you can relax and study. The University has campuses with million-dollar views which you can’t get cramped in a student flat. Finding these places also makes a world of difference in how you study and how you feel when you are here. My other tip would be to maximize your study routine to ensure you are well prepared and you can sit an open book test with a closed book mindset. This should help when when all students need to re-ignite their study techniques for exams. Access resources from Student Learning to help improve your study skills (at home and on campus).

Andrew Wech is a second-year Bachelor of Science student double-majoring in Marine Biology and Ecology and Biodiversity

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