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Trinity student says college “lied” to her about in-person lectures

“I cried for a whole day”: In an interview with Gript, a 2nd Year Trinity student said that the college lied to her about in-person lectures, and that most of the upcoming semester would take place online yet again.

The student, who we’ll call “Emma,” went through her entire first year virtually, unable to set foot on campus – an experience she and many other students found distressing. However, after she considered deferring 2nd year, the college assured her that only large lectures would be online, and small ones would be able to continue in-person as normal.

“The reason I wanted to defer was because I didn’t want to do another year online,” she said.

“They promised that we’d have…lectures of 150 people online. But I have a few classes where it’s 30 people or less, and they’re still online.”

“They lied,” she said.

Email from July 6th 2021

While it is possible that this arrangement may only last for the first semester, Emma also claimed that some of her lecturers have said online lectures will continue until Christmas.

She also said that she believed the college had been “really slow” to give out timetables, meaning students had little warning that their lectures would be virtual going forward.

“Some people didn’t have their timetables until, like, a week into the term starting, so we didn’t really know that we would have online lectures until we got our timetables,” she said, adding that she was very upset by the news.

“It didn’t really hit me until after my first online lecture, and it just felt like nothing had changed.

“It was a big shock and I was really upset. I cried for a whole day.”

Emma mentioned that she knew of students who had made difficult and expensive accommodation arrangements in Dublin on the understanding that they would be on-campus for their learning, only to learn at the last second their lectures would mostly be online.

She said that she had considered deferring the year, but decided she had already begun and may as well stick it out, adding that she was “hoping” that Trinity would change its mind.

“Everyone I speak to (in my class) seems disappointed,” she said.

“They’re not really happy with online learning. It is a bit of an improvement from last year because we’re able to go on campus a bit more and there are events and stuff. But yeah, everyone seems to be quite disappointed.”

Emma said that students had been able to go out drinking together so far during the academic year, but not attend lectures in the same building, which she found “confusing.”

“We had Freshers’ Week about two weeks ago, and it just felt very confusing that we could do pub crawls and go out together but we couldn’t go to lectures together.”

Asked if she had seen students drinking more as a result of this, she replied: “The only time I’ve been able to meet people is when I’m out and drinking. So yeah, I would say so.

“The line for tourists in Trinity is longer than the line for students,” she said.

“It kind of feels like Trinity cares more about the money than about student welfare. Lots of facilities aren’t great – like, I think there’s a 40 day waiting line to see a mental health counselor.”

Notably, Trinity told Gript that they could arrange a “snap appointment” in 16 days if necessary, or, for serious mental health emergencies, they do have same-day appointments on weekdays.

While Emma said that she doesn’t know of any students who were going in normally to class every day, she believes that Law and Engineering courses got “the worst of it,” with Arts courses having quite limited in-person learning as well.

Asked why she thought this was the case, she said “Well, from my perspective I just feel like it’s laziness. Like it’s easier to hold the lectures online.

“They say it’s because they want to take a cautious approach, but I just don’t understand why they feel the need to do that when every other college is open.

“They also said that they don’t have enough space on campus because a lot of the buildings are older, and they have poor ventilation. But they’ve had over a year to come up with a solution for this, and they didn’t. So I think it’s just lazy.”

Asked what it was like to spend her entire first year of college online, Emma described it largely as “really boring.”

“It was frustrating because I knew what I was missing out on,” she said.

“But last year every college was closed, so it wasn’t as hard. Now it feels like I’m one of the only people still online, and it’s really frustrating when everyone else seems to be going back to normal.

“All my friends in UCD are going into next year with hundreds of students, and they’d have pretty much a normal college experience now.”

Speaking on the lockdown in general, Emma said she had found the restrictions “really difficult.”

“It’s definitely been the hardest year of my life. But I am lucky in that it didn’t affect me as much as it affected other people. It was mainly just extreme boredom at home, and frustration at the whole thing.”


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