A student’s point of view

live during the lockdown - Victoria CellunLast September, I started a Master in Luxury Brand Management at the International University of Monaco (IUM). I was surprised by the number of different nationalities among the students, more than 50. But I went to Monaco to enjoy an international experience, and I was incredibly satisfied… until Covid-19 appeared.

Of course, nobody could have anticipated this health crisis, but how was I supposed to continue to study in these conditions?

From the very beginning, I decided to stay here in Monaco, far away from my family in Strasbourg, northeast France, because I had not understood how bad the situation was and that it would only worsen week after week.

Studying…from home

So, I’m stuck in my flat, thankfully with a beautiful sea view and the sun shining almost every day. The most challenging thing is to stay focussed on my studies. Questions come thick and fast concerning our graduation.

Our professors do their best to continue to provide us with teaching materials, readings, and individual or group assignments. IUM set up a Business Skype to allow the students to reach them as often as needed, to ask questions about courses, and to follow some online classes as well.

It requires a lot of organizational skills in both parts – teachers and students. Some use creative ideas to help us follow their classes, such as Youtube channels, where they give a relatively “normal lesson.” Or they send us their PowerPoint presentations with voiceover on each slide to provide the most accurate explanations to us.

Regarding our assignments, we have to submit everything online, on the platform “IUM Intranet Monaco,” respecting deadlines. For exams, most of the professors will give us a business case to work on to do it at home.

Of course, our master program director tries to keep us updated on any information they receive internally, which helps us adapt to working and studying correctly from home.

Also, for students who may need it, they can contact the English-speaking psychological support implemented by the INSEEC group. The conversation will remain confidential.

During the first ten days of confinement, I was great studying like this. Days went by quite quickly, as I spent most of my time working on my projects that needed to be submitted. But when you have your whole days to work only on schoolwork, very quickly, there are no more assignments to do, or the deadlines become more and more spaced out.

So, I felt the need to do something else rather than spend my entire days working on my laptop.

Staying in touch

Usually, I would go to my flying yoga class at MAD Monaco twice a week, and my regular yoga class once a week. So, to have that same feeling I had when I returned home after my yoga classes, I decided to follow the Instagram Live yoga class given by my yoga teacher from MAD Monaco. It helps me to feel better, less “locked-in,” and it gives me the impression I have a social life again. It also helps me focus more when I get back to work on my assignments.

live during the lockdown - Victoria Cellun

Now, after two weeks confined to my flat without any external contact, time is beginning to feel much longer. I do many FaceTime videos with my friends, most of them are living abroad, and with my family. I’m checking in on my family almost every day; whether it’s my parents, my brother, or my granny, we call each other a lot just to make sure that everybody’s okay and nobody’s taking risks by going out. Everyone’s anxious.

But I think we have to stay very positive in this strange period. We are lucky, we are safe at home, even if this is not the best condition to work and study in, but we have to be patient.

Positivity…opportunities

I also take this as an opportunity to do things I have never done before. I work on my creativity skills. I am passionate about fashion and print magazines (I’ve been collecting Vogue magazines since I was 17), so now it’s time to use them. I cut out pictures for my mood boards and hang them in my living room like artwork. I also plan to select my favorite magazine covers to decorate the top of a glass table. I even ordered a chalkboard to remind me every day of my goal, and I will hang it on the wall of my living room.

I started reading several novels as well, ‘The Irregular, Coco Chanel itinerary’ written by Edmonde Charles-Roux, and ‘Beautiful People’ by Alicia Drake. I’ve loved literature since I was a little girl, so now is the time to re-read all the novels I have loved. Albert Camus is one of my favorite authors. Next on my list are “The Foreigner,” “The Summer,” and “Letter to a German Friend.”

Up until now, I never went outside since the lockdown was ordered on 17th March. I had enough provisions, so I didn’t want to risk going out. But in the next few days, I will have to – at least get some fresh air, while remaining as far as possible from people I might run into.

Let’s hope

We are powerless, but we must remain positive and hope that the worst is behind us. I hope that the situation will improve quickly so that we can resume our everyday lives again. Regarding my studies, it’s still uncertain, but we will certainly work from home until the end of our school year, which is the end of June because they do not want to take the risk of spreading the epidemic again.

We wait. It’s all we can do right now.

By Victoria Cellun, MSc in Luxury Management student 

Full article on Monaco Life

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