The Coronavirus pandemic has turned much of daily life on its head. There is hardly an area of life that we previously took for granted that hasn’t been affected.
We’re all feeling the effects of it, but perhaps none more so than university students.
The sudden and unexpected switch to online delivery has left many students feeling overwhelmed and lacking motivation.
Stress and anxiety, already a big issue for many young adults, is compounded by uncertainty regarding how the impacts of Coronavirus will be felt in the future.
“I’m so close to graduation, and now I have no idea if there’ll be any jobs for me,” one UOW student commented, “every industry is affected. Will anyone be hiring next year?”
One group of Australian university students have felt particularly left in the lurch as they try to plan and execute a wide-reaching public relations campaign for Illawarra-based organisation CareWays Community.
CareWays Community, in collaboration with the University of Wollongong, operates a multi-sensory room at Horsley Community Centre. Multi-sensory rooms are innovative spaces in which people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and sensory processing impairments can control their sensory experiences by deciding which senses they want to stimulate or calm.
Multi-sensory rooms have great benefits for the people who use them, by providing safe spaces in which control over their sensory input is entirely in their own hands. These spaces provide opportunities for cognitive and motor skill development, as well as promoting communication, exploration, play and relaxation.
Needless to say, running an effective public relations campaign for such a wonderful initiative was high on students’ list of priorities this semester. But when Australian universities switched to online delivery, the entire plan was turned on its head.
One student involved in the project said, “when we first found out that we’d be doing online classes, my first thought went to this event – would it be cancelled? How would we be able to pull this off now that we weren’t able to meet up in our groups?”
The event, now an online event taking place on Facebook, is just one example of the many ways in which COVID-19 is affecting university students.
“We still want people to attend the event, even though it’s different from what we had planned. This change has encouraged us to adapt and learn about new tools to pull this event off,” said another student involved in the event.
You are welcome to join the event, which will be held on the 12th of May at 12pm on the SENSE Spaces Facebook page.