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University of Nottingham student from Swayfield discusses university in a pandemic

A student, who has faced an unconventional first year at university, believes it's 'questionable' to pay full-price while learning is impacted by the pandemic.

Sasha Pollock, who is studying veterinary at the University of Nottingham, is among the thousands of students attending lectures virtually from her room.

Sasha, from Swayfield, said: "I think the Government is rather reactive rather than pro-active when it comes to Covid. University students almost slipped their mind.

Sasha Pollock, veterinary student at the University of Nottingham
Sasha Pollock, veterinary student at the University of Nottingham

"I feel so sorry for people, like my brother, who haven't had an in-person lesson since the Christmas before last because of teaching strikes then Covid. But is that the Government's fault or the universities' fault?"

She added: "I think the main thing that’s been affected is that all of the lectures are online.

"As well, it's been difficult to socialise and meet people outside of our year.

"Nonetheless it’s still been a wonderful experience."

Before the lockdown, Sasha was still able to meet people through netball and hockey practices a couple of times a week.

A key aspect universities are renowned for is the nightlife, but restrictions have prevented students from enjoying it in the usual way.

Sasha, 19, said: "There are no clubs open although pubs were at the start.

"I guess the student nightlife has been pretty much non-existent but it’s always what you make of it."

She added: "Lots of people feel sorry for university students being penned up but some people blame us. At the end of the day you can't place the blame on students just like you can't blame it on people going to work."

Unlike most university students, Sasha, a former Stamford High School pupil, has been able to attend in-person practical lessons a few times a week due to the nature of her course.

"They have been incredible carrying on with teaching," she said.

"We wear PPE, have very limited cases and anyone testing positive has isolated very quickly."

Despite feeling safe at university, Sasha has not been making trips between Swayfield and Nottingham.

She said: "I didn’t want to put my grandparents or parents at risk really.

"Even though I’m not far from home I haven’t really been home."

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