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Student perspective: What’s it like ‘living’ at Trinity from afar?

Residential College student Annabelle Stevens tells us what it’s like being a socially distanced member of the Trinity community … all the way from Sydney.

Trinity College Zoom call in lockdown
A Trinity College corridor Zoom call in lockdown

At the start of the semester this year, I decided to move home to Sydney to be with my family in these uncertain times. With general anxiety around the pandemic growing, university dates changed to accommodate the move to an ‘online campus’ and the general stresses of upcoming assignments, I was certainly worried about leaving Trinity and all the resources and support I knew were available to me there. However, the transition to a ‘virtual Trinity’ has been a surprisingly smooth one, and it often feels as if I never left.

Perhaps the most important lesson this time away has taught me is how grateful I am for the friendships and connections I have made at Trinity. While it’s difficult being away from my friends, we catch up every Sunday on a weekly Zoom call. I look forward to these calls each week and love hearing about how everyone has been keeping themselves entertained, whether on campus or at home. I’m in my final year of Trinity now and know that I will be leaving next year with lifelong friends.

On the other hand, my brother James is in his first year at Trinity and had only just begun making connections when we decided to come home. At first, I felt sad that he was missing out on the opportunity to develop friendships in the same way I had.

However, I was proven wrong.

James is constantly chatting online to college friends or catching up with his corridor through regular Zoom calls. Together, we have been seriously entertained by ‘Trinity College Survivor’ episodes (Trinity’s crack at recreating the popular TV show) and the letters posted on our ‘Trinity College love letters’ Facebook group, where we post anonymous shout-outs to others at Trinity.

While adapting to the changing university environment has been challenging, support from Trinity’s academic team has never been far away. Between weekly subject tutorials on Zoom, organised study groups, and private consults with my tutors, I have been forced more than ever to stay on top of my work. Moreover, both James and I have really appreciated the weekly check-in texts and calls from our corridor residential advisors and Trinity’s on-staff academic advisor. Although the move to online exams has me a little worried, I know there are so many resources at my disposal to help me through the upcoming assessment period.

That said, of course a ‘virtual Trinity' can never be as good as the real thing and James and I are excited to return to campus next semester. It’s been a weird period for us both, but it has also highlighted all the things we love and miss about Trinity. We are very grateful for all the support that has been provided to us in this time.

 

Annabelle and James at home
Annabelle and James at home

 

Some of the things Trinity’s residential students have access to during the lockdown period, both on and off campus, include:

  • Zoom session covering online research skills for take-home exams and research essays
  • Zoom panel session with senior students and academic staff covering study and exams tips
  • a technology issues action list to help prepare and troubleshoot technical issues in online exams
  • an online exam checklist to help students get their exam room ready for online exams, and a video about setting up their desk for Zoom invigilation
  • support in requesting special consideration for exams, including a Q&A session
  • revision tutorials and subject consultations
  • individual consultations regarding any academic or personal concerns or issues
  • fortnightly corridor Zoom chats
  • weekly mindfulness and meditation sessions with Trinity’s wellbeing coordinator
  • Netflix watch parties
  • corridor video game competitions
  • fitness and yoga sessions on campus and via Zoom
  • residential advisor weekly one-on-one check-ins with students
  • student coordinator-led small group Zoom catch ups
  • club and society-led activities, including a talent competition, streamed ‘Survivor’ TV series, and virtual board games
  • Zoom corridor dinners
  • streamed student musical performances.

 

10/06/2020