Ewan Gleadow

Student Survival Podcast Interview – “We wanted to be the voice of the students”

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Image Credit: Jenny Sharp

Whilst cinemas remain closed, venues shut their doors for an alarming final time, and artists up and down the country struggle to find aid or support, a few Sunderland University students have pooled their resources together to make the Student Survival Podcast. I had the chance to ask one-fourth of the Student Survival team, Lucy Louise Nicholaidis, a couple of questions about how the coronavirus has shaped their work, and the future of the podcast.  

What was the driving force behind starting up the Student Survival Podcast?

Funnily enough, the original four podcast episodes were created for a university assignment, but after the creation of these episodes we just didn’t want to stop. We all loved being in the studio together, having a laugh, and creating our own content. We all quickly fell in love with it and we didn’t want it to stop. From early on, we just felt like we wanted to be the voice of the students from the students.

Is there an end goal for your work, or a message you wish to send to students?

We hope to do the podcast for as long as we can really, again, because we just love making it. We love being able to laugh and joke about student issues and not so much send a strong message. We see it more like a 45-minute window where students or ex-students can just tune in, relax and laugh with us.

Any plans for the podcast going into 2021?

Honestly, we don’t have a clue. We want to continue creating the podcast and luckily, we still can from home, so we will most likely continue making the episodes from home until the university opens the studios again. We plan on having our own strict guidelines in place to protect each other when recording in small studio spaces.

What has been your favourite episode to date, and why?

We all have our own favourites, to be honest. Joe’s is the first mental health episode we made because it was one of the most serious episodes we made, and he enjoyed talking to Jack, a psychology student, who was one of our guest presenters. Matty’s is the episode where we discussed living at home versus living in student accommodation because he felt like as a student himself, he connected with the subject matter more as it was a decision he struggled with. Jordan’s is when we discussed keeping fit during lockdown because we had a lot of fun with this episode as we had created a few more serious episodes around the lockdown at the time. Mine is the debate episode where we discussed if students were getting ignored as a result of COVID-19, as it was a bit more serious compared to other episodes and it gave me an excuse to vent more about it.

Any advice for those wishing to start their own podcasts?

Just do it. Podcasting is one of the only mediums out there where it’s so accessible to everyone, easy to create, but you can also be your authentic self while you talk about anything that’s important to you. For us it’s a great way to blow off steam as we can just sit and talk for hours if no one stops us. My advice would simply be just to do it.

How has the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown affected your work?

We believe that the lockdown has greatly impacted the podcast. We’ve mentioned many times on the episodes but we use the university studios to create good quality episodes. Since the lockdown we’ve had to use Zoom calls and record them. Technical wise, it’s had a huge impact on the quality of the episodes which irritates us every week, however, due to the nature of podcasting and how easy and laid back it is, we still carried on. In March, we considered waiting to release new episodes until the lockdowns and pandemic were over but we couldn’t wait. It took us weeks to find a way to make them and we did. For us it doesn’t matter as much anymore because we just love what we do so much as a team but also content creators that we didn’t want to stop or let the new COVID-19 world get in our way.