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Uni stress and covid 19

I guess I am writing this to see if anyone is in the same boat, and if they're experiencing the same feelings I am currently feeling. Or pressures.


I graduated high school in 2016, then completed a Fine Art Bachelor's degree in 2019 (I loved this degree, I even did a study tour to Italy for two weeks! And made some really great friends and the uni had a fantastic community. However this degree offers very slim chances of a full time salary career). Everyone and myself is asking 'ok so what are you going to do with your life?' Hence, in 2020 I enrolled into a Masters of Secondary teaching full time to be a visual arts teacher (the best thing I could use my fine arts degree for). 


I had a calendar with all my assignment due dates and prac, and was nervous but keen to get a start on achieving a career. I only got 3 weeks into my degree before COVID 19 made closure of the university and transferred all study to online and prac was cancelled. I also lost my casual job, due to loss of trade, which I had been at for 3 years.


I was devastated. My workplace was my social life. And I was left feeling so sad, that all I did was cry. I ended up behind on weekly online tutorials and homework and couldn't find the motivation to do any uni work.


And not to mention, I hadn't even had the opportunity to make real connections at my new degree, I am 21 and the majority of students are much older and mature aged- which I find intimidating for this degree.


I think the difference between a teaching degree and an arts degree is that art was so subjective and skill based, whereas teaching is marked by criteria and intelligence especially at a masters level. Feeling so young and un-experienced was really scary... I remember one of the tutorials before COVID 19 the group tutorial asking what we all did for work, and they all had real adult jobs and teaching experiences, then there was me working in fast food. I felt like the looks I received were condescending.  


So not having friends to message and see how they're going on assignments, or ask for help was really difficult because that's what really helped me through my past education experiences. Online classrooms with microphones and trying to do group work awkwardly just isn't cutting it for me. 


I also found the difference between the expected workload of a masters degree to be super overwhelming. One of my classes acknowledges that we are new to teaching subject area and has made the assignments super easy for us to complete, this is the only class I am actually doing really well at. However I have found the other three subjects really lack that idea that we are only just learning in 5-10 weeks new content and then are expected to whip up super amazing theorised essays and assignments at a masters level. On top of experiencing a global pandemic, feeling depressed, being isolated and having to adjust to online learning -uni just isn't the same.


Because of all this, I have been so incredibly stressed and sad. I look at assignment and cry and cry and cry. I know no matter what I do, that I am just going to fail. I feel really dumb and young and the lecturer is just going to see that when marking and laugh at me or scoff. Obviously COVID 19 has significantly impacted my degree. And being the first trimester makes it super hard, cause I am constantly questioning- omg what have I gotten myself into, am I really capable of passing this degree or am I ready?


I am changing to part time next trimester, and I am hoping that it will be on campus so I can get support, connections and mentorship that I really need. I know if I fail any subjects this trimester it won't go on my record and I'll be given the chance to retake the class, however this hasn't stopped me from crying and being scared of failure. I think I am super scared of failing because I've never failed, and people don't expect that of me- makes the pressure super hard. 


I think the pressure is that I have a timeline in my head, like I want to have a career and good income, buy a house get married and have kids- and if I fail at this degree I don't have any back up and I'm so incredibly scared that I can't achieve these goals and I'm letting myself down. 


But does anyone have similar experiences, feeling super young and foreign to a masters degree. And feeling super stressed and overwhelmed that you're not smart enough. And the pressures of trying to find a career.


Sorry this is long and all over the placed, but need to get it out there. 


Re: Uni stress and covid 19

Hello @kaitykat, welcome to the forums and thanks for sharing. I am sorry to hear about your current situation, it sounds like it has been causing you a lot of stress and anxiety. I also want to congratulate you on completing your bachelors last year (yay!) and starting a Masters degree this year. Those are some very big achievements, I hope you are giving yourself the credit you deserve ! Heart

Unfortunately, there have been a lot of people (and students) impacted by COVID, so you are not alone there! I think what makes the current situation so hard to adapt to is that it was quite sudden and because we are still unsure of what will happen, particularly with studies. By the sounds of it, online study has been quite disruptive and challenging for you, especially considering that you are in a new cohort and were still setting up new relationships with your peers. I am sorry to hear that has been the case for you. That sounds like a really difficult position to be in. I am also sorry to hear that the shift to online has left you feeling unmotivated, stressed, and scared of failure.

Is there any of your lecturers or course coordinators that you can talk to about how you have been feeling? You may find it helpful talking to one of your course coordinators and explaining how you are feeling as they may be able to give you some helpful advice or support. Do you know of any support systems at your uni that you can get in contact with for some help? I only ask as some universities have psychologist/counsellors that students can arrange sessions with for free.

Feel free to keep us updated as we are here to support you when you need Heart

Re: Uni stress and covid 19

Hi @kaitykat 👋

And like @TOM-RO said - welcome!! 😊 I'm so glad you've found the Reach Out forums and hope you recieve the same amazing support from the community on here as I have! 


I just wanted to shout out and say I can very much relate to your uni stresses and having this dumb virus thrown in on top has just been the icing on the cake! 


First off I would LOVE to hear about your time in Italy!! THAT SOUNDS INCREDIBLE!!! 😍 And I can see how going from a degree you are so passionate about into something you're second guessing can be hard. As daunting as it can be studying with mature aged students, I honestly think there is alot that can be learnt from them and you shouldn't feel worried about them judging you because I can gaurentee they've been in similar shoes so know how it feels. The only reason you haven't had a 'real adult job' is because you're still young and haven't had the chance to yet - that's why you're at uni right? To keep developing your skills? So try not to be too hard on yourself! Comparison really does make everything so much worse! Just be kind to yourself, you're on your own path and it doesn't matter what everyone else is doing ❤ 


I'm also sorry to hear you've lost your job - I'm in the same boat. I lost both my jobs and they were also my only social outlets so it hasn't been easy. I'm thinking of finding somewhere to volunteer once my uni load calms down a little in the hope I can make some friends and get myself out there a bit.. would this be something you could see yourself doing too? Idk, it might help? I have pretty crippling anxiety so it's gonna be a challenge but I think it's important so could be something worth looking into? Just to keep some form of social life going while COVID is going on? I mean not all places are accepting volunteers but I'm sure there's some out there! 


I think it's amazing that you're taking the initiative and dropping to part time next semester and not just dropping out. It shows how strong and determined you are! Honestly, well done for making that decision and recognising that you need a little extra support - that's so incredible!! And like @TOM-RO mentioned, it could be worth checking in with your uni to see if they have some supports in place cause they are often free and I know the supports at my uni are incredibly helpful! They have counselors and psychologists and then also have a team that can help with assignments and another team that can help with adjustments to assessments etc. So definately worth checking out!!! 


Let us know how you're going and if you ever need to just vent about uni stresses feel free! @TOM-RO and I were actually just doing this on one of my posts recently as we're both students. There's quite a few uni students on here so hopefully they'll be able to also relate and pitch in! Like I said, it's been a very supportive community for me so I'm sure once you start connecting with everyone you'll start to feel the support too! ❤


Re: Uni stress and covid 19

@Taylor-RO is also another student on RO who has recently helped me out with some uni stresses amongst other things so she may also be able to welcome you and provide some advice 😊 I know everyone is feeling it with uni atm so you're defs not alone!! We can all be stressed together 😂