Life at AECC University College: MChiro Student, Lidi van Stichel

At AECC University College, we are all working hard to navigate a new normal during the pandemic. The health and safety of our students, patients and staff is of utmost importance to us, and we have introduced a number of new measures to ensure our campus is Covid-secure, including a new one-way system, sanitising stations and social distancing during teaching.

Our students are following a blended approach to learning, which combines online lectures and onsite face-to-face sessions for clinical skills teaching. Where there is a requirement for students to undertake practical study utilising the University College’s facilities, these take place in small groups and PPE is worn by all involved.

Lidi van Stichel, a second-year student on the Master of Chiropractic course, discusses her experience returning to campus this year, the support she has received from staff and how she spends her time outside of her studies…

“Returning to campus was definitely different this year. Nevertheless, I was very excited and grateful to have the opportunity to be back on campus two days a week.”

A new look and feel

“You can tell that the building has been given a make-over, to reassure of the safety of staff and students. It is wonderful to see our little community working together to keep everyone safe. It took some time to get used to the new rules, but I have adapted as well as I can. I do miss being able to have a chat with friends and the tutors in the hallway after classes, but safety first! Going to practical labs in a small group of twenty is a unique experience and it did take some getting used to, especially touching and palpating with gloves!”

Support from staff

“As students, we tend to put our learning first. Sometimes we forget that it is not just a new experience for us, but also for the staff and tutors! The staff are doing an outstanding job at making sure we get the best learning opportunities, whilst also keeping us safe. Lecturers have been patient and understanding, and they are always open for a chat if you are struggling.”

Blended learning

“I am so grateful that I can be on-site two days a week, and that not everything is delivered online. We are entering a hands-on profession, so we do need to be able to practice in real life on real bodies. Sometimes it is hard to get away from everything now that lectures are online. I find myself sitting in the same spot for hours. My cosy bedroom has now become my workspace, and sometimes it is hard to know when to switch off, leave the study space and turn it back into your relaxing place. It is all about finding the right balance these days.”

Staying active

“I love going to the gym and lifting some heavy weights. It feels so good, it makes me feel alive. Unfortunately, the university gym is closed at the moment, although that did not stop me building my at-home gym with some equipment I gathered during lockdown. When the weather is on my side, I also enjoy going for runs by the beach. This is, in my opinion, the best way to relax. Endorphins are a real thing! Sometimes, when I am brave enough, I will put my wetsuit on and go for a swim in the sea. As a retired open-water swimmer, I do still enjoy the salty waves and the freezing cold water.”

Tips for new students

“Enjoy yourself! Being at university comes with so many daily challenges that we sometimes forget to have fun. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need to; it will only benefit you! If you are struggling with anything, there are so many people at the University College that would love to listen to you. Student Services are amazing, and so are your tutors, course reps and student ambassadors. We have all been in your position, so do reach out to us if you need any help or tips, or just a lovely chat and a coffee.”

You can find out more about the Master of Chiropractic course at AECC University College here.