The coronavirus lockdown has affected students and young people around the world and, for many, this has meant a new sense of detachment from normal life and a struggle to maintain work and study. If you are feeling alone or struggling with the current social distancing measures, we thought you might find it helpful to know that others feel this way as well.
In March this year, Trendence UK surveyed approximately 1,000 UK students and young people to find out how they were responding to the coronavirus pandemic, especially the lockdown. We recently conducted a follow-up survey in April, again of 1,000 students, to see how they are responding as the lockdown continues.
Remember that you're not alone – where and how is everybody self-isolating?
Most students have made the brave decision to move off their university campus, with only a small percentage (8%) choosing to try to tough it out in a student flat with others. Many universities have suspended face-to-face teaching, and course assessments are still undergoing change even now.
If you are struggling with your course, it's important to remember that you're not the only one. In addition to the survey, TARGETjobs asked graduates in March how they were coping with studies during lockdown. Students on media and computing courses, where remote technology is a practical alternative to face-to-face teaching, were finding their studies relatively easy to continue. But for students such as Rain Basaran, who is studying an MSc in bioarchaeology and forensic anthropology at University College London, access to skeletal material, lab samples and notes is crucial to her course and dissertation. The implementation of social distancing has meant a change of dissertation topic and a lot of extra stress.
Rain recommends regular catch-ups with course mates in the form of movie nights and video calls while social distancing to try to share some of the burden and de-stress. To hear how others are coping, check out this article to hear more from students whose studies are affected by social distancing.
You can also check out these articles on wellbeing in the NextStepSupport wellbeing section.
Are you worried about getting a job?
Toilet paper, flour and yeast may be the country's biggest supply concerns at the moment, but if you're job hunting there's probably something else on your mind. It can feel that the light of opportunity at the end of the tunnel is dwindling, as businesses furlough workers and responses to job enquiries get slower and slower. A whopping 63% of students said that they were worried about not getting a job or felt less confident because of the coronavirus. If you are in limbo waiting for a letter or an email, remember that this is a new situation for everyone and you are going to need limitless supplies of patience to see it through. Check out our articles below for advice if you're worried about getting a job or job-hunting:
- Job hunting during the coronavirus
- Work experience and internships during coronavirus
- Career friendly activities you can do while social distancing
Are you stuck in the recruitment cycle?
It's a terrible feeling to start applying for a job that is then withdrawn or put on hold, or face the uncertainty of a 'virtual assessment process'. We asked people what had happened to their job application process since the coronavirus lockdown, with the majority (35%) on hold and the next largest group (25%) moving to virtual assessment centres.
If you're still putting your best foot forward on the job front, try not to be disheartened if you’ve been left in limbo. Check out our job hunting during coronavirus article for the need-to-knows, and watch the webinar we did with two expert recruiters from Group GTI if you want to know more about virtual assessments.
In our follow up survey, interesting work, career prospects and development opportunities remain at the heart of what students look for in employers.
Virtual internships, interviews, assessment centres and volunteering
Our follow up survey revealed that students are much more positive about live video interviews and virtual assessment centres. In terms of virtual internships, 66% of students wanted to use them to help them earn a graduate job, while the same percentage (in a multiple-choice question) also said the feedback from employers would be one of their key objectives for a virtual internship. 61% said that advice from employers on how they can make the most of virtual internships would also be very valuable. Interestingly, over 50% of male students aiming to do a virtual internship were concerned about having the right technical equipment to complete the internship successfully.
During the lockdown, there has been a very strong uptake amongst students of volunteering to help. Almost a quarter of those surveyed (24%) said that they were undertaking voluntary work with the NHS or within their local community.
Staying well in isolation – what are you doing?
A brief sweep of TikTok and other social media will give you a host of creative ways to stay safe (or behave dangerously!) under lockdown. Aside from hamsters providing hand washing advice and lip syncing videos about Carole Baskin, most people (31%) are making sure that they keep in touch with friends and family online, as well as finding new hobbies (22%) and looking after their wellbeing (20%).
We’ve spoken a lot about job hunting and university above, but it’s especially important in times like these to put a big gold priority star on your wellbeing. It’s not easy being restricted on where you can go and who you can see, and being cooped up for weeks is going to take its toll. If you’re dead set on job hunting at the moment, check out our guide to career friendly things you can do while social distancing, but definitely take a look at the resources in our wellbeing section and see if you can’t find something in there that can help make this unprecedented time that little bit easier.
Whatever you do, remember to stay safe, stay healthy, stay inside and save lives. As you can see from the stats above, you’re not alone.
The survey was carried out on the TARGETjobs website between 27-30 March.
Trendence is a leading student-focused market research firm in the UK and Ireland.