Although our VU community is a positive and adaptable bunch, it’s certainly been a tough time for many of us to transition to a new and – at times – isolating learning environment. That’s why it’s so important to regularly check in with friends and classmates and support one another.

We reached out to some of our students to find out how they’re doing. They also shared some great tips on staying positive and maintaining success in their studies.

VU students are resilient, collaborative and – now more than ever – keeping it real!

Toolsika: staying on track when she's missing home

Toolsika is in the second year of her Bachelor of Psychology/Bachelor of Criminal Justice.

How are you coping being away from your family in Mauritius?

It’s been difficult emotionally being away from my family. There is a total curfew in my country so even supermarkets aren’t allowed to open. They’re also worried for me as I’m alone in Australia. I video call them every day, tell them what I’ve been doing and send photos of my meals so they know I’m eating well! After hearing from them, I feel less worried, knowing they’re doing fine.

Do you think the Block Model is helping you with online learning?

Transitioning to online earning has been challenging but Block Model has made it a lot easier, as there’s not the same pressure of learning several subjects at once. I’m not worried about exams as I only have assignments and small tests. I think we just need a little time to adjust to this new approach.

I can say that the University has approached online classes beautifully and quickly.

How are you staying positive?

VU’s counselling services are helping a lot – it’s online so it’s more flexible. One good piece of advice they gave was to keep my regular routine and keep myself busy. To feel less anxious, I’m watching movies that remind me of home.

I’m spending a lot of time in the kitchen inventing and plating new dishes. I started drawing and I’m taking this time to explore my talents more.

It’s okay to feel uncertain, and as part of a student community, we should all support each other.

Toolsika's chatting with her family overseas each day.

Jeremy: gratitude & seeing the bigger picture

Jeremy is in his first year of the Bachelor of Education (P-12).

How are you coping with the change to digital & remote learning?

I'm sticking to my normal routine as if I was still at uni – attending all of my online classes and doing the same amount of work after class as usual.

I’m still trying to adjust to life as a university student, but Zoom is easy to get used to, and it’s good to see we’re all helping each other out in this difficult time.

How are you staying motivated?

I’m trying to look at the bigger picture and push through my unit, as ultimately it will help me reach my end goal. We just have to remember that we’re all in the same boat and we have to get through together. No one wants to do things this way, but it is what we need to do for the greater good.

Can you see any positives in all of this?

This whole situation has given me more valuable time to spend with my family, which I’m grateful for. It’s challenging being stuck at home but with the right people around me it’s a lot more bearable.

I’ve stayed in touch with friends through social media and PlayStation and with extended family via video chat.

Do you think the Block Model is showing its benefits now?

Yes, it’s much less overwhelming only having to worry about one individual unit and assessment. I don’t know how the other unis are doing it, to be honest. The small online classrooms at VU provide an authentic experience, the closest thing to a real life classroom. Going into our different breakout rooms in Zoom allows for small-group collaborations as if we were in a real classroom environment.

Would you like to give your teacher a shout out?

Massive shout out to Keo, my teacher for unit EEC1107. He’s been nothing short of amazing despite the difficult circumstances. He is a very friendly, outgoing and most importantly helpful person.

What other tips would you like to share?

I just think that it’s more important than ever that we all work collaboratively and help each other to use this time as productively as possible, as hard as it may seem.

Jeremy acknowledges that we're "all in the same boat".

Teacher Keo is keeping students motivated.

Sean: making time for what’s important

Sean is in his third year of Bachelor of Sports Science/Bachelor of Sport Management.

How are you coping with the change to digital/remote learning?

The transition to online learning has gone fairly smoothly – my current unit is well-structured, which has helped.

How are you staying positive in isolation?

Finding time to exercise each day, communicating with friends and family via social media, and connecting through online gaming has helped ease some of the frustration and boredom that this period has brought.

Do you think the Block Model is showing its strengths compared to other unis now?

I certainly think the Block Model's single-unit structure is helpful in this situation. Having a class at the same time each week helps with managing my time and my workload. Friends at other universities have mixed feelings about the transition – some are finding it difficult to adjust.

Staying active and keeping in touch with friends and family help Sean to stay focused.

Find out more

While we run our classes online during this time, our students are experiencing great results thanks to the VU Block Model. Keep up to date with VU's response to the coronavirus.

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