Lockdown Learning– a Postgrad’s Perspective

Hello there! My name is Sadhbh Sheridan and I am from Co. Cavan. I chose to study a postgraduate degree in Human Resource Management at NUI Galway as I wanted to further develop my knowledge and skills in this area.

Choosing my course
I was attracted to this particular course in Human Resource Management because, as well as the excellent academic content reflecting the latest thinking in Human Resource management, I would also have an opportunity to do an internship. I knew that this internship experience would make an invaluable contribution to any of my future job applications and career. In addition to the internship opportunity, on successfully completing this programme, I could become a member of CIPD (Charted Institute of Personnel Development) and I could also be invited to join the alumni network. I also saw the course as being an opportunity to make contacts that will benefit me for many years to come, and that it would help further my career.

It was a difficult decision choosing my postgraduate degree. I had to decide during the Covid-19 pandemic when many challenges and increased uncertainty arose. I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to complete my masters, as due to the restrictions there would be little to no distractions. Due to Covid-19, all of the teaching and learning for this course was provided virtually. Figuring out how to use Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other online platforms, was challenging to begin with, but after a while I got the hang of things. Initially, I found this to be quite challenging, but as time went on it got easier.

There were other issues of learning during a pandemic, such as missing the real ‘on-campus experience’, and I was starting a new course so I knew nobody. This was something particularly difficult to overcome in the beginning, but we used social media apps like Messenger and WhatsApp for college group chats, and soon everyone on my course became close friends. I am now completing my internship remotely, which is strange but I am loving it so far and getting on well with my co-workers.

Benefits of learning in lockdown
Some of the benefits of learning in lockdown: I felt like it was a lot easier to engage with our lecturers. Getting course material from them was quicker, and it was easier to get points and questions we had across as we could use the chat icon on Zoom/Blackboard. When in a huge lecture hall on campus, students may feel shy or anxious to raise their hand and ask a question or discuss a point they may have. The lecturers were supportive and were lenient when giving extensions to assignments, which was very helpful considering the environment we were in.

If you are considering studying a postgraduate degree course I would encourage you to apply whether you’re on campus or not. Or if your course is offered as a blend of both virtual and on campus learning. Don’t shy away from it due to these uncertain times. Overall, I really enjoyed my online virtual learning experience, I got to study from home and this also saved on accommodation costs which was great. I feel the online experience and qualification I received will forever stand to me.

For more information on postgraduate study at NUI Galway, please click here.