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This term, we hear from second-year student Bethan Storey (Queen’s College). Bethan discusses the impact of Covid on university life for pre-clinical students.

Photograph of Bethan Storey sitting on rocks. © University of Oxford

The COVID-19 pandemic has understandably changed the teaching of pre-clinical medicine. Last year we had in-person lectures and practical sessions for several hours every morning, but these are all now online. In this format they are more flexible, but also much more time-consuming, and I know many of us are struggling to balance them alongside the usual essay workload.

This is particularly challenging in the context of reduced contact with our peers, both other medics and friends within college. Previously we socialised with medical students daily, be that at teaching events, or on the bar crawls and medic crew dates that were often arranged. These are not possible currently, so remote learning has the potential to feel isolating. However, events like the MedSoc’s online escape room have helped maintain a sense of community.

A particular highlight of my first year was the Patient & Doctor course. At Queen’s, we go to a central Oxford practice, which usually allows us the privilege of visiting patients in their own homes. This term we met patients via video-call instead, which has still been very rewarding and is probably more representative of how doctors have had to change the way they practice during the pandemic.

Opinions expressed are those of the author/s and not of the University of Oxford. Readers' comments will be moderated - see our guidelines for further information.

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