Being a CICM student during the coronavirus outbreak by Olivia Selinger

I’ve loved every bit of my first term at CICM. It’s been a steep learning curve, but I have begun to feel at home in the college and part of the community.

Coronavirus concerns

When our lives started being impacted by coronavirus I was nervous about what it would mean for the course. And it was a big disappointment when we were told the college would be closed for the foreseeable future.

There were lots to worry about: would we still be able to continue with our studies? How would we approach practical work? How would we keep the motivation up while being separated from the college and our course mates? And in the longer term, would the college survive the disruption?

Reassurance and adaptation

While I was anxious, I was reassured by the college’s response. It was clear that the team was working flat out to make sure our learning could continue and adapting to using Zoom to deliver online lectures.

In many ways, I have enjoyed studying from home – although it is a very different experience from going into college. I have had to find new ways of maintaining good study habits – making stricter timetables than usual and finding new patterns of work that fit in with life in covid Britain.

With kids being at home 24/7, self-study and online lectures have not been without their challenges.  In the last week, I’ve found myself in Qigong classes alongside my ten-year-old and Chinese medicine lectures with a bemused seven-year-old listening in. Netflix and Minecraft have played their part too!

Staying connected and motivated

One of the things I’ve enjoyed is getting a sneak peek into the lives of our lecturers and other students: seeing their houses, gardens and families. It’s been nice keeping in touch with my classmates through the constant murmur of WhatsApp conversations and the occasional Zoom study session.

The creative ideas that CICM staff have suggested for practical work have also been inspiring. For example, sending photos of body parts marked with points before lectures; online Qigong classes; and the promise of increased practical classes when we return to college.

The passion from the CICM staff is infectious and keeps up our motivation.

I miss college. I miss the atmosphere, the warmth, being with my classmates and the practical lessons, but I am confident we will return one day soon and when we do, maybe we will look back fondly on the days of Zoom chats, online lectures and ten-year-olds in virtual Qigong sessions!

Olivia Selinger is a student at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine

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