The last exams and COVID

Spring is slowly coming, and with it an unexpected crisis. Pandemic. As the number of cases infected with the covid-19 virus gradually increased and various countries began to apply security measures such as quarantine or border closures, the United Kingdom has long refused to react in any way.

At the time when a state of emergency was declared in the Czech Republic, gatherings were forbidden, businesses were closed, there was an obligation to wear a facemask everywhere, and it was not allowed to go anywhere except for commutes to work, home and to the supermarket for food; in the United Kingdom there were no measures, everything was open as under normal conditions and without restrictions. It was not until March that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland began to respond to the situation with the gradual closure of schools and other measures - weeks to months later than the reactions of other countries. Amongst other things, this resulted in the closure of my university campus in Wales and the subsequent adaptation to another form of teaching. After the campus closed, we had about two weeks of vacation before the university smoothly switched to online form for not only lectures but also exams.

Although the university's response to the pandemic situation was understandable and relatively timely (within the UK), unfortunately the transition to online mode was not the best way. Many lecturers did not know how to best set up video calls or stream lectures (although they were IT teachers), so a large number of these lectures either did not take place at all or with noticeable technical problems.

Not only the whole situation regarding the pandemic, but also the form of online teaching was very demotivating for many people (not excluding me), because instead of going to the lecture campus responsibly, it was enough to just sit by the computer, turn on the video call program and listen to the lecture in pajamas for a while. The fact that the university library, where I managed to find a job at the beginning of January, also closed, did not help, and therefore this source of not only income, but also the motivation to exist outside the house, disappeared. So, I spent most of at least two months sitting in my 3x3 m2 room, trying to somehow complete all the projects, including the dissertation individual project. I do not think it would be necessary to go into details, but I managed to complete and submit all the work on time, including one final exam, which also took place online. The test, which in the standard form has a time limit of 2 hours was, practically unchanged, extended to 24 hours.

Although the situation around international travel in the spring was quite uncertain, I managed to find out that there was a possibility of transport to the Czech Republic by commercial Student Agency buses from London. And so, after the last exam at the beginning of May, after I handed over all the work, I managed to return to Prague, despite all the travel restrictions. Of course, a mandatory quarantine followed, after returning from abroad and acclimatization to life in the Czech Republic, but that is a story for another time.

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