Almost a third of UK university students have attended less than 10 physical lectures since September 2020, a new survey has found. Around a quarter (26%) of students met less than 20 of their coursemates, according to the survey conducted by logistics company PACK & SEND.
More than two out of five university students are feeling more stressed. With more than half (56%) having spent less than half a year actually being on campus — many feel robbed of the educational experience they paid for.
Flaminia Fichera, a University of Leeds medical student, is one of them. “In my course, teamwork is highly valued. We had many group projects happen throughout the year and I’m grateful I had this way of interacting with people on my course, albeit virtually,” she says.
“On the other hand, the pandemic made me appreciate even more people that were already in my life. I will have five more years to fully immerse myself in the university experience and I’ll be able to truly value future friendships.”
Larissa Kennedy, president of the National Union of Students UK, says the next academic year is crucial for international students such as Fichera. “Students have had a difficult year, deprived of the social and learning experience we would usually expect,” she says.
Kennedy says most university students will be eager to return to campus for some sense of normality but it’s pivotal to avoid mass outbreaks. It is crucial that governments as well as universities and colleges enact proper safety measures. “We also need certainty as soon as possible so students, especially those coming from overseas, can make decisions about living arrangements and finances,” Kennedy adds.
University students also reported feeling stressed for not being able to return to campus and having to deal with pandemic-related restrictions when transporting their belongings.