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This is a guest blog by Jack Voyce, studying BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy at Bournemouth University.

Jack is smiling at the camera with fairy lights behind him

Jack Voyce

It’s completely outrageous to think that 3 years can really go that fast. Starting out as a first-year feels only an arm’s reach away but in time was an age ago. Starting the course during the height of COVID-19, we were confined to our halls and Zoom calls and it became apparent that we soon had to adapt to a differing learning environment.

Jack is wearing a PPE mask, hairnet and scrubs

Jack in scrubs

Learning off a screen was something that I did not originally sign up for but has taught me immensely about being flexible to change and the importance of online interaction. Being taught practical sessions in bubbles of 3, wearing PPE, and your lecturers having to social distance from you was a challenge. We completed clinical placements with COVID patients with the potential of missing hours due to self-isolation and we also did split placements with a mix of online tasks and face-to-face clinical experiences. I think that, although this was not conventional, we have all gained extremely useful skills we can take forward into our careers in a healthcare system that is ever-evolving.

It was certainly difficult, but looking back on it now, it was the best-case scenario considering the impact of COVID. We were lucky as a practical-based course to have actually met some of our fellow students in our first year. I know this was not the same for other courses that were subjected to a fully online learning experience. Throughout this period, and to the present day, it has shown that having a good group of friends to support each other at university is necessary. Whether these are through your course, sports teams, social clubs, or the people you are living with.

Jack is climbing a cliff face

Jack climbing a cliff face

Winding forwards to where we are now with the rules of COVID-19 being lifted, I have made it into my final year of university. I have always heard previous university students say the third year was a big jump, but this felt like a climb up Mount Everest. A year with 2 placements, a practical exam, a systematic review, and preparing for the world of employment.

However, I feel this period has taught me the most about myself. It has outlined the importance of reaching out for help and support and utilising what is around you, in particular, your lecturers. My biggest advice would be to keep asking questions and be honest when you do not know something. Embrace your inner child and keep asking ‘why,’ because the only silly questions are the ones you don’t ask.

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