AAA2020 Virtual Conference Banner 7 - 10 Dec

Honours Student and Supervision Challenges during the 2020 Covid Pandemic

Jacqueline Turner 
University of New England

Co-Author/s
Adjunct Associate Professor Wendy Beck, Archaeology, University of New England

In this paper Jackey (student) and Wendy (supervisor) reflect on our experiences during 2020.

Jackey: I would say to students contemplating Honours during these uncertain times that it has been challenging but it is still achievable. I am a mature-aged single mother and I am doing a BA(Honours) because I would like to be a Consulting Archaeologist in Australia. The Gostwyck Grinding Grooves research excavation provides the data for my thesis. Fortunately, my fieldwork was not affected, but home-schooling my son, was challenging and I moved to part-time study.

Wendy: Research shows that many students in research degrees do not complete. The major reasons are changes of career goals, work-family conflicts, poor health or financial strain. There are several factors for successful completion: motivation, working in teams rather than solo, connections with peers and professional activities, and good supervision.

Jackey: During the Covid pandemic a major challenge was to home-school my Kindergarten-aged son. Like all mothers who study, I felt guilty when I had assignments due. I was not confident initially about Zoom, but am now able to meet ‘in person’ or Zoom, and I access email and regular telephone meetings. I lacked access to up-to-date computers, due to University structural issues. If I were a higher degree research student I would be able to borrow a laptop, but Honours is regarded as undergraduate. There is also much uncertainty about the impact of Covid on Archaeological Consulting. If I had to home-school again, it would be very challenging to complete Honours. I am uncertain about how this pandemic could affect my job prospects, and I worry that my employment prospects are already hindered by my circumstances.

Wendy: I recommend focusing attention on your transferable skills: GIS, cultural awareness, project management, report writing, which can be used in multiple job contexts.

 

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