Covid-19 has had an immense impact on the lives of university students, many of whom are living away from home. Students at the University of Manchester have been protesting against their treatment during the pandemic since the beginning of the academic year.
To the dismay of many students, metal barriers were installed around Manchester’s Fallowfield’s halls of residence in early November. Having already felt confined due to the restrictions placed upon them (not being able to see family and friends or to attend face-to-face classes), they have now become restrained physically. Due to the social media uprising, hundreds of students began to protest for the barriers to be taken down, and even took matters into their own hands and attempted to break them down. This has created an uproar among other students confronting their own universities and demanding more financial and mental health support, as educational institutions have not been considering the calamitous impacts of Covid-19 on students.
Recently, Manchester University students have also been protesting against rent and tuition fees as the standard of education has decreased with online learning, and rent payment should not be considered mandatory for students who are no longer living at their accommodation. Oxford and Cambridge students have also voiced their displeasure at the universities’ continuing to ask for rent, especially from those who are no longer staying at the colleges. This has resulted in many more protests and strikes, considering the two universities have enough wealth to function because of their prestigious repute.
Mental health for every individual has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. The fact that students are living away from home feeling trapped at their University has not helped in the slightest.
A study revealed that within the general population, the greatest increase in stress was amongst 18-24-year-olds.
Furthermore, they concluded that by late April 2020 mental health had deteriorated for many across the UK. In addition to this, self-isolation with flatmates and the lockdown struggles when attending online classes has led to many feeling hopeless and unmotivated. Many first-year students strongly feel that they have not made any friends, and for those who may not particularly get along with their flatmates it is even more distressing.
Academic pressures and the uncertainty about the future have impacted 7 out of 10 students who are anxious about their employment. In order to apply for a placement or job it is necessary to maintain good grades without the ‘normal’ standards of teaching e.g., in-person lectures, 1 on 1 meetings, and in the case of many science students – lab work. It is increasingly difficult to learn effectively, leading students to feel frustrated.
On October 8th, Finn Kitson, a student at the University of Manchester, passed away. His death was not Coronavirus related. Finn’s father, Michael Kitson, stated that his son’s death was due to the ‘lack of support’ during the University lockdown; when you impose a lockdown on University students without enough support, it could lead to detrimental impacts on their mental health and in this case, it has led to the suicide of a young man.
Here at Her Campus, we would like to encourage you to be sensitive with the people around you, and if you need additional support, contact the Leeds University Wellbeing Service. Here are some resources for anyone who may need them:
Words By: Manhaaza Ashfaq and Srushti Bhorkar
Edited By: Nina Bitkowska