Studying and Working Online

Student Ambassador, Luis Howell, shares some insights into what it has been linke studying Biochemistry as well as completing work opportunities over the last year

Hello, my name is Luis Howell. I’m a second year undergraduate student studying Biochemisry. At the start of my second year in autumn, not everything was completely online, my practicals were still face to face sessions. However, not everyone could attend the face to face sessions, so there was remote learning for the practicals already in place. When I attended my face to face sessions in lab, I was learning the skills I needed in the lab as well as learning new procedures that I wouldn’t have done in lessons before I started university, so I felt like I was doing more than looking at a screen to learn.

However, going into another national lockdown in January 2021 meant everything had to be done online, even the practicals. Luckily the school had systems in place for such a situation, which are simple and easy to use, but we are not learning the safety precautions as we would if we were performing the experiment in the laboratory. Just because it’s easier doesn’t mean you learn everything. Though saying that, with all of lectures being online I have found it so much easier to participate in the lectures than in person. Speaking to about 200 people in the room is very frightening, especially if you aren’t confident in front of people you don’t know. Being able to use the chat function in my lectures feels like I’m engaging in the task at hand. Also with the lecturer watching the chat for questions, they are able to answer them straight away or when they have finished with the slide they are on.

In addition, I feel more confident showing myself on camera because I have to do it when I teach British Sign Language for the society I’m in. And using that skill and confidence, I’m able to transfer it to work as a student ambassador.

I have done some work opportunities, mainly talking about the UCAS application and what I remember from when I did it. I have also done a feedback session which was really good to put input in. With these sessions, I feel like my insights will be useful and helpful. Throughout the online experience, I think students from schools and colleges find the information help decide what they want to do in the future.

My advice for all ambassadors is don’t be afraid showing your face throughout the whole session so that students feel like they can engage with a friendly face. And for any that are new, please talk to your fellow Ambassadors as it will be nice to know more than a name and a degree.