Ken: 'Zoom'ing his way through COVID-19

Our Wellbeing People of Adelaide

Meet Ken - Master of Accounting and Finance student, University of Adelaide

Born and raised in New Delhi, 27-year-old Ken Ahuja was already a Certified Accountant before coming to Australia to study.

“I’d moved around the country a fair bit for my higher education and work, and was really keen to build on my knowledge in the finance sector, so I moved to Adelaide in February 2019 for the Master’s program.”

Saving time and money, while contributing to a sustainable environment, were key factors for Ken choosing the city as his home.

“With everything in the city being close by, from sports fields, to restaurants and entertainment centres, nine times out of ten I can walk to where I need to go and reducing carbon emissions does make one feel good.”

Ken in stands 1

Ken in the stands at the University OVAL in Red Gum Park / KarrawirRa (Park 12).

A keen soccer player at Adelaide Uni, prior to COVID-19 restrictions coming in Ken could often be spotted playing a game in the Park Lands, occasionally followed by a beer at a city pub. More recently he and his friends have been enjoying movie nights in dwell’s cinema room.

So, what has been the key form of connection during the COVID-19 situation for Ken and his friends?

“There’s just one word for it which everyone is well versed in by now – ZOOM. Our lives have pretty much migrated to the meetings app and revolve around it for now. Being an International student already prepares us in the art of staying in touch with our families digitally. That’s something which did not change during the pandemic; however, the frequency did increase as everyone back home was anxious and stressed out about not being able to be together."
Ken Ahuja, international student

“For my wellbeing I found staying in touch with friends and family, trying to keep the conversation topics off the pandemic really helped me personally. I started learning how to cook a few new things and dusted off my Xbox which had been neglected all this while during the busy Uni schedule.”

Balance is important in all aspects of life and ‘down time’ needs to complement study time. For many students, the switch to a total digital learning experience has been challenging.

“I’ve always been a self-directed learner and preferred studying at home. However, not being able to attend lectures and classes physically did take a toll on me this semester. The university has been really supportive, but online classes for me personally haven’t helped much with productivity and motivation, and I’m really looking forward to being able to attend some classes sometime this year.”

Another thing Ken is keen to get back to is sport.

“I look forward to socialising again, especially in the form of sports and photo-walks around the beautiful city. You never realise the value of something until it’s gone, and this pandemic has made us all realise the number of things we used to take for granted.”

Ken’s student accommodation at dwell East End Adelaide has been a big source of support for him through the ups and downs of the COVID-19 situation.

“The staff here understand the needs of residents which is very helpful, plus the community living and a beautiful rooftop have added value. The support system created here made sure we didn’t feel alienated during this stressful period. The community side of things had to take a step back during the restrictions, but it didn’t stop. It just migrated online like most things now and we continued to have fitness and cooking classes, as well as frequent meet and greets.”

If there’s one thing these challenging months have crystalised for Ken, and so many others, is the power of community.

”We are all in this together, not just students but everybody. As a community, it is important to maintain connections to ensure that none of us feels lonely. As students, we understand what each of us is going through and staying in touch and providing peer support to each other is what will get us through these times.”

Ken on field

Read more student stories about COVID-19 on the StudyAdelaide website.

Article by

Esme Barratt

Esme Barratt

Esme loves Adelaide - especially the city's open space, walkability, artwork, beauty and how much you can access for free - all of which leads to great wellbeing. With a passion for the Park Lands and a zeal for all things community, she can't wait to share the wonders of our open and friendly city, so you can love it too.