Thoughts on our new way of life
Dear international students at the Faculty of Law,
We are CELL’s student team. CELL is a centre which consists of passionate academics and students who aspire to evolve legal teaching and Norwegian legal didactics. We had originally planned to introduce ourselves in another way and at a different time. But now that everyone’s lives including ours have been turned upside down, we have some thoughts to share about the time to come.
First of all, it is very important that we all listen to the Norwegian health authorities regarding their advice on how to reduce further spread of COVID-19 in our society (the corona virus). As international students you will also have to follow regulations and advice from your own national authorities abroad. Security and health are main priorities, and we advise you to also take the required precautions as stated by your home Universities abroad if they have given any guidelines.
We are aware that some international students have been advised to travel home, and that others are under quarantine here in Norway. Contact the Information Centre, as they will help direct your questions to the person responsible at the Faculty of Law. They will guide you in your further education in the time to come.
Second of all, we have to remain patient whilst awaiting further instructions regarding how long the faculty will be on lock down, how digital courses will be taught and how our exams will be affected by this situation. Luckily, the subjects taught in English have already received information regarding exams. CELL’s student team are working to maintain your interests in this difficult process.
Now it’s time to address the difficulties we might encounter in today’s situation.
The health authority’s and the faculty’s measures raise some challenges. Home office? It’s not completely unfamiliar to many of us. Some of us already choose to study other places than at the study halls from time to time, but it’s a different experience when this is no longer a choice. We have no access to ordinary lectures and courses, and we have no control of what will happen in the time to come.
We are all concerned for our health; concerned on behalf of ourselves, family and our friends. As international students you probably worry if you will be able to travel home before a potential lock down. Far worse is that many are worried for their families thousands of miles away, a situation our national students are privileged not to be in. We are fortunate to still be allowed to travel home safely without much trouble.
Furthermore, how will we be able to study without access to ordinary education? How will we be able to use our time wisely – and how do we avoid becoming a version of Alice in Wonderland’s “Mad Hatter” over time as this pandemic continues?
In the midst of a crisis, studying can seem trivial. Studying is supposed to be a fulltime job. The library and the study halls are our workplaces. What will we do with no access to our “offices”? How will be able to reach a certain level of work flow confined in our own homes? How will we be able to study at all, some of us whilst we are taking care of potential ill family members and under strict quarantine? We face a change of mindset; a challenge we have no choice but to face head on.
To try to help with these challenges we have put together the following tips. We know that some may seem superficial in the light of WHO’s declaration of a pandemic, but we hope they can at least lighten the workload for us as students.
- Wake up at a regular time. Try to go through your ordinary morning routine before you pull out your books and your laptop. You can replace the travel to and from the faculty with a morning walk.
- Create a designated space for your studies to simulate a proper office or your regular desk at the study halls. We recommend that you do not read in your bed. It´s a sacred space for relaxing.
- Move if you notice your concentration fading away. Try sitting differently or try to take a breather on your balcony or simply outside your door.
- Use some time to reflect and think about what your daily routine actually looks like. How long do you actually study when you go to Domus Juridica? Take your daily breaks and finish your studies at a reasonable time.
- Turn your cell phone off, or at least turn off the notifications. Life is stressful enough already. You do not have to read the latest news of the corona virus at the drop of a hat.
- Do you struggle with using your time wisely? Try the “The Pomodoro Technique”.
- Do you live with others? Talk about your expectations, study routines and personal needs. Be proactive and create a plan together. Perhaps you could eat lunch together at a set time each day to socialise and forget your troubles?
Isolation isn’t good for us, and far worse in this situation. Try to keep in contact with family and friends over social media. As international students, you are probably used to this. Take some extra time to make each other feel loved and include those who might be susceptible to loneliness now that the study halls and the faculty are on lock down. Try to fight loneliness on behalf of each other, and do not hesitate to contact anyone if things become difficult.
We could talk endlessly about the positives of digital courses and digital education now that we are forced to educate ourselves, but we won’t. Instead we want to put focus on being good fellow students; we are each other’s resources. We have to help each other out both socially and academically. We have the potential to be of great use to each other. Be the frontier of the digital age and help your professors out if the course material is insufficient. Give productive feedback and take control of your own education and make a change. Complain in due time and give credit where it is due.
And last, but not least. The CELL team is available for you to contact, as is JSU and the faculty itself. Give us feedback so that we can improve your education. We are as we write this in the process of creating a resource website for digital courses from a student perspective. Further information, including contact information, will be updated as soon as it is available.
The student team of CELL
Johanne Maria Rohde Larsen
Martin Emil Aasen Jonassen
Mira Sofie Stokke
Nicole Marie Versland
Sophia Susanne Traub Wulff