These past months have been a huge work in terms of adaptation. Between closure and reopening of schools, the program kept on going and exams still took place. How would we stop education?
Yet, the impact that the lockdown has on students is very considerable. When for some it is way better to study from home, for some others it is a nightmare. Closed in a 15m2 room, all alone, having to motivate yourself to study every day with no interaction can be very heavy with time. The difficulty is emphasized for the students who just began their first year of university. Indeed, the start of studies itself is a very big step in one’s life and feeling all alone can be very dangerous for the continuation of the studies. In France, the situation of students is not very considerate (#Étudiantsfantomes, 2021) and due to the suicides of several students (Nouveau suicide étudiant. La politique du gouvernement est criminelle !, s. d.) they decided to mobilize together to be seen and to protest against the situation. Thus, they created a hashtag named ghoststudents (#etudiantsfantomes) to collect testimonies in which they express how they feel towards the home studying, their impression of not being considered as part of society and not being supported. The main reason for this hashtag is to raise awareness and connect students together in order to feel less alone in their difficulties. There are some accounts on Instagram under the name @anxietudessuperieures (higher studies anxiety) in France and Belgium and there is also one for the French-speaking part of Switzerland.
Claire, a student at the University of Bern, manages the account for the French part of Switzerland (@anxietudessuperieures.ch). I asked her a few questions on her motivations to hold such a platform and here are her answers:
- What prompted you to follow the French movement?
“This period is very tough for every student and me included. When talking with some friends I could realize that I wasn’t the only one suffering and just the fact of knowing that gave me a little comfort. Besides that, frustration began to grow more and more with months passing by because my university worked less and less on listening to student’s difficulties and adapting the right conditions to lessons, exams and access to its infrastructures (our libraries closed during our exam session!) So, when I saw that the French launched a movement to break the silence around the conditions of students, I told myself let’s try and see if it will work in French-speaking Switzerland. As I suspected, the problem is not limited to France only…”
- Did you have any specific expectation when you launched this account?
“No, I only thought that if I could make a student feel less alone with this account then all the work would have been worth everything. And according to the feedback I already received this goal is largely achieved and this is awesome.”
- Do you plan to evolve or stick to the testimonies?
“For now as the account is still in growth and I have exams, I will keep going with posting testimonies for a while but I have some other ideas to add to them as for example a Discord platform to exchange, an open letter to Universities to ask more recognition and support and why not a demonstration (let’s be ambitious!).”
- Is there any form of exchange or collaboration between you and other countries?
“I exchanged at the beginning of the account with France and Belgium to have some tips but now I mainly exchange with Swiss pages who respond to my stories like groupement of students, meme pages and mental health promotion association such as stopsucide.ch.”
Apart from collecting testimonies, the platform talks about mental health subjects that we often mix nowadays. Generalized anxiety, stress, depression, burn-out are all put in the same bag and yet they are not the same and the response you need to give each one differs.
Now, you know where to go if you feel alone and isolated due to your studies, seek help, your emotions are valid, we are not robots.
- #Étudiantsfantomes : Le malaise des étudiants face à un confinement qui dure. (2021, janvier 13). France 24. https://www.france24.com/fr/france/20210113-étudiantsfantomes-le-malaise-des-étudiants-face-à-un-confinement-qui-dure
- Nouveau suicide étudiant. La politique du gouvernement est criminelle ! (s. d.). Révolution Permanente. Consulté 29 janvier 2021, à l’adresse http://www.revolutionpermanente.fr/Nouveau-suicide-etudiant-La-politique-du-gouvernement-est-criminelle
- Instagram account : @anxietudessuperieures.ch
Featured image :
Caz. H., [@henri_caz], (2121, January 15). N°15: Prisonné. https://www.instagram.com/p/CKERw7wDBio/?igshid=13a6yi0g6xk5u