Finishing my second year during a pandemic

Wednesday 29 July 2020, UCAS advice


Finishing my second year during a pandemic


Hi everyone! My name is Gaia and I’m about to start my third year studying Psychology with Criminology at Nottingham Trent University (NTU). Alongside my studies I regularly post university content on my YouTube channel – ‘Gaia Rose’. Ever since I started my channel back in September 2019, I have been helping thousands of students get to know not only NTU better, but also offer a realistic insight into student life at university. My channel covers a variety of different areas, from day in the life university vlogs to NTU-specific advice videos. I have also taken over NTU’s Instagram twice for their student takeovers.

In the recent months, I’ve been balancing my time revising for my second-year exams and filming videos for my channel. The current COVID-19 situation has already proven to be difficult for UK students such as myself, due to the vague government guidelines. Therefore, I cannot imagine how tough it must be for an international student looking to study in the UK. These students, at the moment, are not even able to attend a face-to-face university open day. This has propelled me to want to support those students around the world through my YouTube videos; my end goal being that they are confident in and familiar with the university they have applied for. Not only have I been supporting students through my channel, but I have also been replying directly to any questions sent to me from students at home and abroad, acting almost like a student hotline for NTU.

My second year of university has definitely been one I did not expect. If I had been told that I would lose the second half of my year to a virus that would force the world into self-isolation, and make me access my university studies instead solely online, I would not have believed you. As thousands of other students would agree, my whole student life has been turned upside down. There has been an abundance of differences to my day-to-day routine, from leaving my student house to go home for the next four months until October, to having to quickly learn how to use Zoom and Microsoft Teams to interact with my lecturers that way. In addition, I have had to complete several exams online, which is the first time I’ve experienced this new format of examination in the entirety of my education. All those years of preparing for school sports-hall, paper-style examinations were almost all for nothing now that I was faced with a different kind of assessment – an online one with a different set of rules. Thankfully, NTU has been there with a plethora of resources and support systems in place to help me through this uncertain and challenging time. Not only have I been supported academically but also emotionally. NTU has also put in place a ‘No Detriment Policy’, meaning the COVID-19 situation will not negatively impact my studies. This has relieved my own and thousands of other NTU students’ anxieties.

Now that it is officially summer for me, and all university exams and assignments have been completed, I have also been taking the time to get back to my other hobbies. These include drawing portraits, going for walks, and good ole’ Netflix. I believe having a walk every so often is vital for your mental health, especially at this time where everyone is still expected to stay inside. Getting fresh air, even if it’s only every two to three days, is important also for university students who may feel they are drowning in end of year assignments. This was definitely the case for me, and until recently I hadn’t been out of my house at all for a good eight weeks, which nearly led to a burn out. Even though the world is not completely back to normal, I personally advise still completing small ordinary tasks like going for that walk, or even a goal as mundane as having a shower, which I know many students can forget to do when they are bombarded with university projects and family responsibilities. Don’t forget to eat well too - if you can of course pending budgets, and talk to someone. Your thoughts are always valid.

Remember it’s important to focus on your own wellbeing as well as others, especially during this tough world situation. At the end of the day, this lockdown will not last forever so keep your head up and if you would like more advice on university life, it would be great if you could spare a moment to check out my YouTube channel. If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out and contact me. Gaia




The #WeAreTogether campaign brings students together from universities across the UK to share their experience of what it’s like to study in the UK during Covid-19. It is a difficult time for international students right now, but universities are here to support them. Follow us on Instagram for tips, advice, and information for current and future international students.