COVID-19: How it’s affected first year psychology students at Manchester

First year Psychology student, Nicole Burdett, could never have imagined her first year at university ending with a global pandemic. Below, she discusses the changes that have been made to the undergraduate psychology degree since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak and how she’s trying to make the most of this lockdown period…


It’s day 58 of lockdown and the coronavirus pandemic has become a new “normal” to me and many others. Whilst having taken time to adjust to this abrupt change in lifestyle, I have found comfort in the confinements of my home having left Manchester the week prior to the start of lockdown.

This initially seemed like a nightmare having to leave the campus and all my friends for an unspecified time period, however the transition wasn’t as bad as I had expected. This was facilitated by the resources which the University provided to enable us to continue my degree at home.

Being a first-year psychology student, I had assignments and exam deadlines still looming in what first felt like a very chaotic time for everyone. It had become a struggle to do work as normal with the stress and uncertainties around not knowing what was happening and the concern for ourselves and family contracting the virus.

Whitworth Hall and Oxford Road

At first, lectures, labs, seminars and tutorials resources were simply moved online to allow us to keep up with the work we would be doing if we were on campus. This allowed us to easily access the teaching that we would have under normal circumstances. It’s impossible to replicate live teaching but the opportunity to learn the exact same material was still there, even if admittedly I did lose a bit of motivation to continue studying once I was home.

As more people on my course had barriers towards completing the assignments, such as being unable to complete a group project, the course leads were able to change the remaining content of first year to formulative assessment to reduce the anxieties that had arose but still encouraged the work to be completed to receive the feedback for next year. This was a relief! It took the pressure off us because a lot of the content had not been taught to us directly which has left some gaps in our understanding.

I have found that the measures put in to help us such as Zoom calls for tutorials have been really helpful, even if it isn’t the same as going into university. I’m someone who engages better in a classroom/lecture theatre environment compared to online, whereas others are the opposite.


Lockdown life has actually  given me the much-needed rest that I had been needing and the opportunity to improve my fitness, nutrition and sleep which is something I had wanted to do for a while!! I know a lot of people have lacked motivation to get up and work out and I think it’s fair to say this has been everyone at times over this isolation period. But knowing that this a long period that I am unlikely to get again has inspired me to make the most of it and work towards achieving my goals.

Being a sports scholar for archery, I have been training as much as I am able to at home both physically and mentally to maximise the progress I can make in this situation. By having my sports goals it has allowed me to maintain focus and motivation to prioritise archery which is going to benefit me in the coming months. I encourage everyone to set a goal that you may have wanted to accomplish- however simple- as this gives you a reason to get out of bed and get moving!

I am sure everyone is hoping as much as I am that we will be able to transfer back into offline teaching as the year progresses but for now, lockdown life hasn’t been too bad!


To read more from our students about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected their studies click here

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