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What Is It Like To Be A Health Student During The Pandemic

It is not news that the Covid-19 pandemic got everyone unexpectedly. With that viral crisis, literally everything had to adapt itself to the new reality. For universities, it was not different. In this article, two students of the health area tell how their classes were adapted because of the pandemic, the best way they find to go through this situation and some tips to make the most of learning on virtual classes.

Marcela Lourenço, 19, is in the 3rd semester of the Medicine graduation on Unimes (Metropolitan University of Santos). She started her graduation in February 2020, before the Covid-19 crisis reach Brazil and for that reason she had about one month and a half of in person classes last year. Nevertheless, in mid-March the classes turned to remote modality, due to the pandemic, and stayed that way throughout 2020.

Marcela says that her practical classes were abolished until July 2020, but “from the middle of the year we were able to reset some practical classes”. She explains that those were implemented in the second semester on Saturdays, filling out schedules that were available on the calendar.

a laboratory worker takes a swab test
Photo by Mufid Majnun from Unsplash

The students barery had practical classes

The reality of Aline Camacho, 19, that is in the 3rd semester of Physiotherapy graduation on Unifesp (Federal University of São Paulo), was different. According to her, in the beginning of 2020 the university had no planning or structure for long distance learning and the teachers had no preparation for online classes as well, so her course was postponed for a long time, only starting after July 2020.

For that reason, the college had to speed up the classes to complete all the semiannual content before the stipulated period for the second semester, in February 2021. Aline had all the content until January 2021, which deregulated the students’ schedules. She did not have any practical classes yet. “The college preferred to wait until everyone is vaccinated, or at least the majority”, she explains.

Aline’s college has notified that all practical classes that are being postponed will be added to the grids as optional, so the students can decide whether they want to have the subjects at the time of enrollment or not. However, the student says she does not know how this situation will end, since she will have to reconcile the accumulated classes with the new ones she will have in the future. Meanwhile, in Marcela’s university, this year the theorical classes are virtual, while the practical ones are face-to-face, maintaining social isolation and division into groups.

Learning on virtual classes

Both students claim that their learning on the beginning of the college was troubled due to the pandemic. “My learning, at first, was a little impaired”, says Marcela. However, she complements that over time she adapted well to the virtual format and today she thinks it is an efficient model, especially “for courses that don’t rely that much on practical classes”.

Aline remembers she began college very excited to learn and study, but the way the classes took place made it very difficult for her. “When I didn’t know something, I used to ask other people, but they didn’t know either”, she recalls. The student also says that this feeling of confusion and disability gave her some anxiety crises.

Woman sitting on bed with laptop and books
Photo by Windows from Unsplash

The virtual classes made it harder for the adaptation

In addition to that, there is the fact that each student has their way of studying, which considers the type of language that each one adapts the best: visual, auditory, or written. In this regard, Aline tells that “In high school and in the preparatory year for the entrance exam, I worked to find a method of study that I could focus on and study well. When I found it, I thought I had won the lottery and I was going to study forever. Then the online classes came and crushed all my expectations”. But the physiotherapy student added that this year she adapted very well to online classes.

For Marcela and Aline, their expectations for the courses and college, in general, were not exceeded. “Everyone enters college wanting to enjoy everything that the university provides and meet new people”, Marcela points. However, the Medicine student says that there are people in her own class that she did not meet yet. “The pandemic has changed a lot the way I thought it would be the freshman year”, she complements. Aline tells that “there are many things I haven’t met and I’m still looking forward to knowing after a year and a half of college”. She also says that she was very upset about missing some of the first-year college experience, but hopes to have a few more years to make the most out of university.

Tips for the 2021 freshmen

When it comes to tips for students who want to get into health colleges in today’s reality, the girls gave some ideas based on their experiences. Marcela thinks that the main point is to pay attention in classes even if they are recorded. Make summaries and always have discipline and focus on the course is also important. Aline’s tip is don’t think on the negative side – such as the loss of practical classes – but to keep in mind that you’re taking more time to improve yourself in theory, for when you can put your learning into practice.

As expected, the pandemic has changed the reality of everything and everyone, but today, a positive aspect to start a college is that universities have already been able to adapt to the reality of the pandemic. So, the chance of you missing classes because of college adaptation is lower today it was a year ago. Just remember to have discipline and focus on the positive side to learn well and become a good professional.


The article above was edited by Julia Queiroz.

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Nicole Leslie

Casper Libero '23

Estudante de jornalismo e editora de features em inglês.
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