Fyona Knight


Diploma in Financial Strategy


United Kingdom


Financial services



By Fyona Knight

The Covid Cohort: Study in challenging times

As my train pulled out of Oxford at the end of Module 1 in January 2020, little did I know that it would be 18 months before I set foot in its lovely streets again.

As someone living with a hidden disability, I had embarked on my studies with a mixture of delight and apprehension.  Would my cycle of illness get in the way of revision? Could stressing over the exams trigger a relapse in my condition? Fortunately, my fears were unfounded. Thanks to support from the School and the assistance from the University’s Disability Service, I sailed through Module 1 and was all set to enjoy a wonderful year of learning with my new friends.

Sadly it was not to last. As Covid swept across the world, my doctor sent through an unequivocal message: I must shield, cut all activities that may impact my health, and focus solely on staying out of hospital. This meant packing away my books, deferring my place on the course, and abandoning my hopes of professional growth for the year. I was devastated.

Fyona taking a Covid testIn the weeks that followed, my mind turned what I could do to help. As the country prepared to face its biggest threat in a generation, I was determined to find some way of contributing to the fight, as news emerged that Oxford University was looking for volunteers with compromised immunity to help develop a vaccine, I knew I had found my opportunity. I quickly signed up, and shortly after began producing regular samples to be used in the research. Regularly conducting your own throat and nose swabs is not a pleasant experience, and drawing your own blood even less so, but I will be continuing to do so for another year, and as long as I am needed. It gives me a great sense of pride that I have contributed (albeit in a very tiny way) to this university’s incredible vaccine success.

Fully jabbed and in good health, I am now preparing to return to in-person lectures for Module 3 and face the same mix of excitement and trepidation. What will the new learning environment be like? How will I get to know the students joining via Zoom? Whatever the challenges, I hope to make the best of these new circumstances as there are always opportunities to be found, even in the most troubling times.


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