The Corona period distance learning has hit also university students hard. Many of them are really struggling with constant distance studying and loneliness. The Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics discovered that common virtual coffee breaks with students, teachers and alumni truly cheer up the distance learners’ days.
The Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics Digital Marketing and Corporate Communication Master’s programme has begun a new tradition of informal Teams coffee breaks. This was the idea of University Teacher Outi Niininen, who has for some time been worried about the Corona situation’s influence on students.
”Many of them have really been left alone, and they have plenty of worries and problems regarding their studies, mental coping and financial condition. These virtual coffee breaks are already familiar at many workplaces so we decided to give it a try also in the student community. Right from the start, the experience was really positive!”, Niininen tells us.
Peer support and greetings from work
A group of students and invited alumni got together for the DMCC Teams virtual coffee break to catch up about their work situation. The topics, however, were not restricted only to work matters. The main point was to contact other students, says Ahmad Chaudary, who participated in the session from his Pakistani home.
”Being appointed as a student was a really big thing for me. Unfortunately, the Corona situation has so far prevented me from entering Finland, which has decreased my motivation to study, says Chaudary.
These virtual coffee breaks were really nice and they gave me hope that things will get better. Talking with others increased my motivation and determination. I want to thank our teacher, Outi, for establishing the dialogue and breaking the ice, Chaudary enthuses.
All this is shared by another Master’s degree student, Linda Koskinen.
”The Corona period has affected us all in so many ways. I haven’t been able to get any work experience in my own field or any social contacts in Jyväskylä. Now that I’m working on my Master’s thesis, every day is more or less the same and I’m practically unable to meet anyone. Therefore, I try to activate myself to participate in social events whenever possible. It was awesome to hear what my fellow students are working on at the moment; I think it was very inspiring”, Koskinen tells us.
Outi Niininen recommends also other student groups to try virtual coffee breaks or some other easily accommodated ways to chat.
”The implementation is easy and participation voluntary. This is a minor thing but peer support and a few encouraging words may be really significant for many students. ”
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