More than two million students are starting a new term at university, all under new ways of learning – with socially distanced socialising and living with people they weren’t sharing with during lockdown. As part of Radio 1 Newsbeat’s university coverage, Aberystwyth student Lacey Small writes about her worries for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
University is going to be very different this year.
At the moment everyone seems to be talking about how sorry they feel for freshers, but no one is talking about how current students are going to struggle too.
One thing that has been on my mind for the past few months is online learning because I know I’m going to struggle.
In 2018 I started my undergraduate degree studying film. My first year I excelled in all of my practical modules but never did quite as well with my theory ones.
“What’s wrong with me….stupid idiot….why can’t you just sit still and concentrate?” These thoughts ran through my mind on a daily basis.
It was in my second year that I had finally had enough.
Me and my friends were on a night out, we arrived outside one of the local clubs and suddenly I lost all the energy I had, I did not want to go in. After half an hour of being inside I was ready to go home but everyone wanted to stay. I couldn’t hear myself think, it was too loud, people were everywhere bashing into each other. I just started to cry.
The following morning, I decided to google everything I had been struggling with.
ADHD. Four big bold letters across my screen.
My doctor agrees I have it but I’m still on a waiting list for a special test.
Finally having a name for what I have been struggling with all my life was the biggest relief I have ever felt. Since discovering I have ADHD, it has allowed me to figure out easier ways for me to study and learn while finishing my degree.
Face-to-face learning is where I feel the most comfortable. I can ask as many questions as I need, I can also ask for help when I’m struggling to understand something and I’m surrounded by my other peers. I am petrified to start university again because face-to-face learning is mostly gone and I have to adjust to a new way of learning.
My best friend Willow also thinks they have ADHD. Over quarantine they confided in me the fears they have for this upcoming year. “Am I going to fail my degree because of online learning?”
We laughed together when they said this but deep down we were both petrified.
Like me, Willow struggles focusing on a task and part of that is time management.
Another friend of mine, Marcella, has autism. She is terrified of these new changes to the way we learn. She’s feeling overwhelmed and says big changes to her routine are a lot to process. It’s very daunting for her as this is something none of us could prepare for.
One of her main concerns is having to adjust to this new style of learning quickly enough so her assignments don’t get affected.
Most students with neurological conditions up and down the country are probably panicking right now.
Panicking about the thought of online learning and if they will get extra help when needed. It is a very scary time for us, all we want is to finish our degrees and not fail because of new changes.
I was so excited to go into my final year at university, I was looking forward to seeing my uni friends for the last time before we all split off into the real world, but now I don’t know what I’m looking forward to.
My final year is now filled with so much uncertainty and that’s terrifying.