NUI Galway student Lorna Mannion (19) from Newbridge, Co Galway says she feels cheated because she is missing out on normal college life.
Lorna is a first-year English, psychology and sociological and political studies student who started university last September through remote learning.
"It’s not the same, you don’t really feel like you’re a student at all,” she says.
Learning remotely is a struggle for many students and she admits her “motivation has dropped”.
“I barely have any interest – it’s not what I thought it was,” she says regarding her coursework.
Lorna says she can easily get in contact with lecturers through email or video call, but she says she has only once reached out to a lecturer.
Her lecturers “seem lovely”, she admits, but it’s the barrier of not wanting to “bother them” that is stopping her and other students contacting them for help.
“I wouldn’t go out and ask for help unless I’m really stuck and don’t have anyone else to turn to,” she says.
Lorna finds it “weird” to reach out “if you’ve never met them before – If you’re trying to talk to them when you're struggling, and they don’t even know who you are.
“Students are kind of lost.”
Like many others, she moved into Galway city last August for the upcoming academic year but says she is “struggling” with the lack of study facilities available under lockdown.
“I don’t even have a desk,” says Lorna after six months of remote learning.
She lives in a shared house and says her only option is to work from her bed because the NUI Galway library has “limited spaces” available due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“I’ve never been able to book a seat on time, they book out within minutes,” Lorna says.
She hasn’t contemplated dropping out of college this year because “if I dropped out, I wouldn’t go back”.
Lorna adds that the college routine “gives her structure”, but she “wouldn’t be surprised” if people dropped out before the end of year exams.
“I’ve wanted to do psychology since I was 14 and I’m not going to step down now,” she says.
However, Lorna has had to make friends through Zoom which she says is “hard – they don’t know me properly”.