Higher education learning and teaching has faced a significant challenge in 2020. The novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has required institutions to engage in emergency response teaching and deliver distance, online, or socially distanced delivery in most jurisdictions globally. The literature to date has focused on understanding this from the perspective of the institutions and academics primarily. For example, institutional case studies and staff critical reflections. There has been literature published on student learning, student experience, and student wellbeing during COVID-19, but these are typically constructed through an academic lens (e.g. a student satisfaction survey). This research offers a co-constructed account developed adopting a students as partners philosophy. Our research team includes four students from two countries (Australia and Singapore) to independently reflect on their experience and collectively consolidate their learning journey through the pandemic, and be mentored and supported by two academics. Our findings indicate that students feel generally disconnected from their experience. Students felt their agency was important, self-awareness and accountability enabled this. Students also reflected that changes to their learning environment had made it more difficult to create social connections. They also include opportunities to change our teaching practice to be more supportive of our students’ collective learning during COVID-19.