This is an honest account of the challenges experienced and the determination to succeed.
Yandiswa Mdlikisa discusses the life of online learning during COVID-19 while navigating home responsibilities, family, and academics.
Lockdown has been the most challenging experience I have had since 2020 started. At first, I saw the extended holiday break as an opportunity for me to complete all the work required of me during the first term. However, the spread of the virus and the plethora of opinions people had about its spread gave me so much anxiety that I decided to leave campus to be at home with my loved ones.
When I arrived home and noticed everything was operating differently, I panicked. I panicked so much that I did not appreciate the great opportunity of spending a long holiday break with my family. All I had on my mind was fear of not knowing what will happen next. I also thought a lot about my academics. As a student who is doing an extended degree program, I felt like having to do the first year again a lot to accept. The way we are taught in the mainstream is different from the way I was taught last year. The pace is faster this year and I was still trying to adapt to the new way of learning and building new strategies of coping. However, the introduction of online learning gave me hope that I will continue with my studies this year. Although online learning has been an amazing step, studying at home with all my siblings around is currently a huge challenge. My siblings make a lot of noise that I cannot control. As a woman, there are duties I am expected to complete daily. Currently, it is exceedingly difficult to manage my time appropriately.
Nevertheless, I am very grateful for the opportunity that the university granted me and all the support it has provided. The steps the university has taken towards ensuring that I can access the internet and study even during this difficult time is a huge blessing for me, but online learning has been quite challenging. Having to take written quizzes online every day gives me a lot of anxiety.
Network Connection in my location is extremely poor and has failed countless times and unfortunately, the university database has failed as well. This situation has brought me a lot of stress. The workload currently is too much to handle; every day I have to discipline and motivate myself to finish all lecture slides in time. Nevertheless, with the struggles I am facing; I am building strategies to push through. The fear and anxiety I had at first are slowly turning to a strength. Lastly, despite all these difficulties, this period has granted me with independence and has strengthened my faith in God. One thing I can say is that there is a way through. All we need to do is to accept change and to take our health and the health of others as our full responsibility.
First Year Engineering,