STARTING university amid a pandemic has its challenges, but Mildura’s Tamsin McLean says students have found ways to adapt.

The former Irymple Secondary College and Mildura Senior College student is in her first year of a Bachelor of Psychological Sciences and Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice double degree at Melbourne’s Swinburne University.

Some of her first semester tutorials were held in person, while this semester all classes have been done by remote learning.

Ms McLean said while she would still prefer to be on campus, the transition to uni had been easy, with lecturers and tutors adapting to how people learn online.

She said there can be benefits to remote lectures, too.

“I know some other people struggle but I don’t mind being able to watch it online,” she said.

“I can do it in my own time – if there’s an hour long lecture, I can pause it and come back to it if I need to.

“That’s something you can’t do physically sitting in a lecture theatre.”

As for the social aspects of university life, Ms McLean said that was continuing in other ways as well.

“I still find that it’s good,” she said.

“I mean it’s harder to make friends when you’re not there, but there are a lot of group chats happening, so you’re still able to meet people who are interested in the same things through social media.”

While deciding on a university last year, campus visits weren’t happening and so online tools and talking with careers counsellors became more important.

Ms McLean settled on her choice because the double degree contained all three subject areas she was looking for.

She used Swinburne’s online Swintopia tool to get to know the university.

Her advice to this year’s crop of school leavers was to give uni a go, knowing that deferring is an option if it doesn’t work out initially.

She said it also helped that she had chosen a course she was interested in.

Ms McLean said her next goals included getting some experience in her industry, with work placement an option in the third year of her degree, and to potentially continue studying for a master’s or doctorate.