The postponement of exams, due to the coronavirus pandemic, generates additional stress for many French students. Three of them testify.
They move as best they can in thick fog. Since the introduction of containment in France, many students feel left to their own devices. Kept away from amphitheatres, university libraries, and their fellow students, forced to adapt to the change of program, the postponement of exams … they fall apart.
The pressure is such that some are considering dropping out of school or changing career plans. Others, despite their efforts to take distance courses, see their diplomas soar.
Three students agreed to tell us about this psychological distress .
“It’s hard to work alone”
In Nancy (Meurthe-et-Moselle), Maëlle, 18 , contacts us from her parents’ cellar, which is set up as a relaxation area. Like many students, she returned to the family nest during confinement. A situation that she experiences badly. Being in the first year of medicine, it was all his pace of work that took a hit.
“Before I worked from 8:30 am to 9 pm at the university library with my friends, we encouraged each other, then I continued at home until 10 pm or 11 pm… There, it’s different,” she explains.
“My parents don’t necessarily understand my rhythm. They ask me to come and eat with them, when I’m more used to eating in front of my computer, my classes, so as not to waste time… I understand that it is important for them, and then I’m at their house , but it is difficult. Before, in my apartment, I did what I wanted, it was my organization. And working alone, without my friends, is even harder.”
What she is most afraid of is falling in the ranking:
“It’s scary to say that some will be able to scratch places [because of the numerus clausus, note], while we are in trouble. We do not know in the end if we are ahead in our revisions compared to the others, or late, so we continue to work, to work for hours. It’s exhausting.”
” I’m too afraid “
Especially since for Maëlle, the stakes are high: after a first semester “messed up”, she no longer has the right to make mistakes. “I could have made a comeback in the second half, but there, it seems complicated to me. ”
Initially scheduled for May, his writings to enter the second year have been postponed until the end of June . “Demotivated”, she knows that she can give up her spring break and her summer job. Because if she misses her exams, she will have to retake the entrance exam in September and fight alongside 612 other repeat candidates to obtain one of the 60 places available in the physiotherapy sector.
“We have no information, particularly on the next reform. I’m too afraid to do two years in a vacuum, because afterwards, if we don’t make it, it’s like we haven’t done anything for two years. And you cannot pass the competition a third time. “
Exhausted, Maëlle grinds black. She even thinks of leaving college: “If I can’t, I will surely enrol in a school of osteopathy. ”
“We’re at the end of the rope”
For Clémentine, 21, also from Nancy, the coming weeks will be just as decisive. In the last year at the Regional Institute of Social Work (IRTS), she is supposed to pass her state diploma as a counsellor in the social and family economy in two parts, one in June, the second in October.
“I also had a 16-week internship to complete, which ended on May 7, but my class and I are now suspended from internship, ” she says.
All are today “without news” of their establishment and their referent teachers.
“We do not know how our exams will go, nor the graduation, because the internship is compulsory in normal times. We have two large writings to return and we are delivered to the writing, we have no news from the teachers who are supposed to follow us for these writing. We try to support each other, but we are all desperate and at the end of the line … We are moving forward in the dark.”
No distance courses offered
And time seems long to him. Since the interruption of his internship, no distance learning course has been set up. “We are at our parents’ place, it looks a bit like a vacation, except that we cannot relax, we all stress …”
“We try to cheer each other up, otherwise we crack.”
For her too, the results of her exams will be decisive for the future, since her diploma will be reformed next year. “The government already did not know if it allowed catch-ups for the next promotion, so, as far as we are concerned, it is even vaguer… And we do not know if the jury will be more lenient with us. ”
Above all, Clémentine regrets that she can no longer deal with the files she dealt with during her internship. “It makes me sad that I can’t help the families I was in contact with anymore,” she says, her throat tight. I don’t even know if I will see my tutor again before the end of my year, or even if I will be able to pass my diploma. ”
“We live day by day”
In Toulouse (Haute-Garonne), Guillaume, 20, is getting ready to go back to school. ” But under what conditions? “He wonders. In the second year of journalism at the Higher Institute of Media (ISCPA), he too had to interrupt his internship in Paris in mid-March due to the confinement measures. Scheduled for a long time, the following have been cancelled.
The reproaches fuse, Guillaume enraged: “we were told that the resumption of classes was set for April 6, with theoretical classes by videoconference, but the school does not yet know how it will reorganize the practical classes. Are they going to be shifted to May? Later? ”
“We also do not know how the partials, scheduled for mid-April, will take place. We do not know if they are maintained, this is the big question mark. Clearly, we live day by day.”
If he has validated part of his semester, Guillaume must retake certain tests to obtain his year. But then again, the young man is sceptical: “How am I going to take the exams for the television lessons?” I have to be explained … ”
Angry, frustrated by the lack of information … The student is also worried, like so many others, about the future, even the closest. “I’m afraid of having gaps next year. “