by Sophie Mahoney, a Business Management student

Hey everyone!

I hope wherever in the world you may be, you’re doing well and keeping safe!

I’m Sophie, I’ve just completed my second year as a Business Management student at Swansea University. At no point did I think that halfway through my degree a global pandemic would occur, resulting in the suspension of all face-to-face lectures which were moved to online platforms. I initially thought this would be difficult as I was unable to meet with lecturers to discuss any queries regarding my coursework. However, my concerns were completely unfounded as I was able to maintain contact with them through email or Zoom meetings and overcome any obstacles I faced when completing my assignments. Although it was different to being in a lecture hall, students received the same quality of teaching through online platforms.

I found early on during lockdown that I had some free time during the day, so I decided what better time to learn a new skill? After some thought I came to the conclusion that I should learn something that I’ve always been interested in but didn’t have the time to fully concentrate on; I decided on British Sign Language as I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of communicating with someone solely with hand movements and facial expressions. I signed up to an introductory course on the BSL website, which offered 9 different lessons and 1 final assessment. The course covers topics which included the alphabet and numbers, introducing yourself, discussing family and friends, education and work, travelling and how to sign in different tenses. The course has given me a strong foundation on which I can build my skills further in this area and I’m really looking forward to progressing on to the next levels. As well as learning BSL, I decided that now was a great time to brush up on my Welsh – I completed GCSE Second Language Welsh but haven’t used the language much in the last 4 years so thought I would test my memory using free online courses and Duolingo.

When starting the BSL and Welsh courses, I created a timetable for how I would go about my day; I planned everything in hourly sections and gave myself a few hours each day to relax. Whether I used this time to read, bake, catch up with friends or simply watch something on Disney+, I found this really helped break up the day and allowed me to switch my brain off, creating the perfect work/life balance at home.

That being said, I believe that this work/life balance has benefited me greatly as I have recently started a summer placement working remotely for Swansea University’s College of Engineering as an Employability Content Creator/Editor. My role involves creating engaging and interesting employability related content for the Employability Newsletter sent out to Engineering and Sports Science students, creating social media campaigns with the Alumni Team and assisting in reviewing and updating the team’s employability resources and materials for the new academic year. I felt that going through the application process completely online was more daunting than usual, but when it came to the final interview, I took the same approach to the video meeting as I would have for a normal interview – ‘just be yourself’.

The past few months have been difficult for everyone, but things can only get better from here on in. We are all going to be doing things differently from now on but I’ve learnt that the current situation can’t hold us back from learning new skills and improving our knowledge.

Blog written by: Sophie Mahoney
Date published: 16/06/2020