Studying in the Coronavirus Pandemic

Studying in the Coronavirus Pandemic


Due to the coronavirus pandemic, universities were closed in early 2020, lab courses were put on hold, and online teaching was introduced. Anna Tratter, a student at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, talked to other students about their everyday study routine in the middle of the lockdown.

After nearly a year, online semester procedures are routine for the students. Some things are much better online, e.g., that lectures can be accessed from home. This allows for more flexibility: you can get up later, have more time for hobbies, and you can repeat something right away if you missed an important detail. One student admits to watching some lectures at 1.5 times the normal speed. Others are happy that they no longer have to travel to the university in the crowded subway.

Nevertheless, the interviewees are always grateful for any activities that can take place face-to-face. They repeatedly mention the lack of contact with fellow students as a negative aspect. Above all, “suffering together” is missing, as one student puts it. As one solution, for example, the young chemists in Innsbruck, Austria, offer a regular virtual Stammtisch, where students play online games together or answer each other’s questions in a virtual “learning space”.

Other not-so-good experiences included an Erasmus stay that was cut short, longer wait times for lab placements for Bachelor theses, which are severely limited due to the coronavirus pandemic, a higher barrier to asking questions online, and the fear of deficits in practical basics due to online lab courses. One student confesses that he gets distracted faster online.

The students think you can see two extremes: Some get a lot done, others do not do anything at all. One student sees positive effects and thinks that his age group is becoming much more independent in terms of self-organization than previous cohorts.



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