Will being a student now affect my future?

Gareth Hughes

Gareth Hughes is the Clinical Lead for Student Space and is a psychotherapist, researcher and writer on student wellbeing, including the book Be Well, Learn Well

We’ve heard a lot of students raise concerns that future employers may view their degrees as being somehow ‘less good’ because they were acquired during the pandemic.

You might be concerned that your degree won’t mean as much because you’ve learned online, been assessed differently or missed some exams – or that they themselves will be of less value. You might be feeling a degree of ‘imposter syndrome,’ that you are not good enough or you haven’t proved yourself.

While this is entirely understandable, in truth there are many reasons why you do not need to be concerned. Studying for a degree right now requires flexibility, resourcefulness, discipline and resilience – all characteristics that good employers want in their staff. The challenge of studying during a pandemic, may, in fact, help you to develop skills and strengths that will benefit you in the future. If you can demonstrate how you have responded to these challenges, you will be a more desirable employee.

There are some steps you can take to help with this process. The key is how you engage with and think about your learning and your experience. Reflecting on your experiences, your learning and your development, can help to improve your academic performance and it can also help to boost your self-belief. This may not come naturally at first; reflective learning is a skill that many students have not yet had the chance to acquire. But it is something that you can practice and get good at.

Reflection exercise

Here’s an exercise you can do to reflect on what you have learned and managed during a week.


  • If you find it hard to come up with things, be persistent and keep trying
  • Be kind in your judgement of yourself – even if you think the things you’ve learned were easy, still put them down
  • Think broadly - your learning and challenges faced might come from your personal life or paid work.

Over time you will be able to revisit your record of your reflections and you will notice how much you have developed and how much you have successfully managed. You can use this in applications and interviews with employers. You will be able to demonstrate how you managed multiple challenges, learned and grew and studied, despite the global pandemic! This means you are exactly the kind of employee they are looking for.