After more than a year and a half of being in this global pandemic, it is certainly obvious that most people are impacted significantly by the uncertainly, isolation, and distress of our current situation. Not surprisingly, lots of students are feeling lonely and isolated from their family and/or friends, which has a negative impact on their studies. Perhaps you are experiencing that too.

In the middle of yet another online semester, there are still lots of students who are not adapting easily. Some students have found that they have submitted incorrect files for assessments, while others can’t learn the information as well as they did in person. There are several students who have not even been on the Uni campus and are missing out on the social aspect of being a student. While NSW vaccination rates continue to steadily increase, students in NSW will start to see an easing of restrictions, but we really don’t know when our borders will open for international students to return. Until things return to “normal” please consider taking steps to support good mental health, as well as good study practices.

There are a few online resources available through the Uni and in the broader community. The Library has Peer Learning Advisors (https://www.library.sydney.edu.au/help/pla.html) who run some social activities, as well as being able to help with study skills. The USU have over 200 clubs and societies that are holding different types of online social events, in a wide range of interests. Headspace (https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace) have an online forum, especially for students, to talk about the challenges they are experiencing, and some of the things they are doing to help themselves. The Uni even has an app which is a peer support and mental wellbeing resource (https://www.sydney.edu.au/students/talkcampus.html). It may also benefit you to speak to a counsellor either at the Uni (https://www.sydney.edu.au/students/counselling-and-mental-health-support.html) or in the community (https://headspace.org.au) to develop strategies to deal with isolation.

While it is completely understandable that you might be feeling distressed, the Uni still considers academic honesty very seriously. You need to reference every source that you use to write an essay. You need to complete your own work when writing code, that is, not look at another student’s assignment, and not get help for that assignment from a coach or tutoring company. When you are doing an online exam, you should not access unauthorised materials (e.g., notes, canvas, another computer, etc) and you should not be wearing headphones. Any academic honesty breach may lead to a fail grade for that assessment or even a suspension from University.

If you need a couple of extra days for an assignment, you can try asking your subject coordinator for a Simple Extension of up to 2 days. If you are too unwell to complete an assessment you should apply for Special Consideration. You have three working days to submit your application and where possible you will need to provide a supporting document from a doctor or counsellor dated ON or BEFORE the day the assessment is due.

If you feel so desperate that you think you should breach academic honesty standards for an assessment, please talk to an SRC caseworker about what your options are. We provide a confidential service that is independent of the University.