Uni Life

Commerce student goes the distance online

Overnight exams; studying online from abroad

The year 2020 has been probably the toughest and strangest year of my life so far. I think many of you will understand me here. In June, I decided to travel back home to Russia from Australia. Even though it was risky due to COVID-19, and I didn’t  know when I would have the opportunity to return to Australia, I felt I needed to be with my family during such a difficult time. And so, I travelled back to my home town and commenced my university studies online.

Like the majority of students, I am studying online for the first time. I decided to rely on orientation week to help me with enrolment. 

I live in the north of Russia in a small city called Arkhangelsk. Fun fact: it can be really cold in this area. The coldest I remember was about -35 degrees Celsius during winter and people who work here get 70% extra to their salary to be motivated to live and work here 🙂 I have a 7-hour time difference with Queensland. Therefore, in Queensland study workshops start at 11am, but for me they start at 4am. Believe it or not, I did not skip a single workshop during Orientation week! 

I was getting up at 3-5am, attending a workshop, and then falling asleep until noon. The thing I like about this experience is how people become interested when I tell them about that. So, I chose my  courses and began studying. I was lucky to get two of my three  workshops at a normal time for me. However, I still needed to get up at 5am once a week to attend a two-hour workshop. Even though I knew that lectures and workshops were recorded, I really like to have the opportunity to participate and ask questions. I would say that my first trimester at uni was better than I expected. It was interesting and the teachers were helpful with assignments and course content. 

The last interesting thing that happened was the overnight exam. I was studying economics and had a final exam. First of all, the exam was held from 8am Queensland time, which is 1am in my city. Secondly, it was a 5-hour exam. Thirdly, it was an economics course with graphs and long mathematical calculations. Sounds bad, right? BUT do you want to be surprised? I got 100%! It was the best exam I had so far during my first year of studying at Griffith. To be honest, I still don’t completely understand how it happened 🙂

 Although these past six months of online studying have been hard, I still have amazing memories of time spent with my family and friends in Russia, whom I missed a lot, being far away from my home. Here is a beautiful picture of me and my friends from school near the drawing that represents our friendship.

The best thing for me this year will be spending New Year’s Eve at home. You probably don’t know, but in Russia we celebrate New Year even more than Christmas. It is also my favourite day of the year, which I have always spent with my family and snow (!!!). Therefore, I am very happy to be home for holidays this year. A snowy December is the best kind of winter for me. Just look at the atmosphere here 🙂 

Snow is such a tradition for me, since I was born in Russia and spent all of my childhood here, that I am always shocked when someone says ‘I haven’t seen snow’. I am always very excited to share the fact that in my home town people live with snow for five or six months of the year.

Also when talking about the pandemic, I decided to take every opportunity from it and became a freelancer! Now, I can design and develop websites and information products. So, I would just say that even though this time can be very difficult for you, try to make the most of it. And maybe in the future, you will realise that you actually got important knowledge and experiences out of this pandemic.

I also managed to experience the famous COVID-19 virus for myself and, after two weeks, I won the fight 🙂

This was a very unusual year for me, and I am actually looking forward to 2021 and going back to Australia! Please let me in next year – I am cold here!


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