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I remember when the reality of this whole pandemic really set in in March, we all expected it to be over quickly and things will go back to normal by summer, but boy were we wrong. After completing one and a half semesters fully online, like countless others, and adapting to a completely new teaching/learning style, here are my thoughts on college during a pandemic.

It's okay to not like online learning

This goes out to people like me, who have realized that online learning is just not it for them. I was initially fine with it during the spring since it was not a fully online semester but this fall semester hit hard. I found myself dreading each lecture since it never seemed productive and I always felt tired after every class.

I found it hard to be intellectually stimulated and actually retain the information I learned despite it being set up as a normal class. It made me realize that I am a product of my environment and I need to be actually surrounded by classmates in order to have an enriched learning experience. Something I tried to do to fix this was to sit with my family or go to my neighbor’s/friend’s patios (with masks on!) to feel that I am taking the class with other people. 

Finding a new schedule can be hard!

When classes were on campus it was much easier to set a schedule. You knew exactly how long it took to get ready, get to class, and how big of a gap you had to eat, study, use the bathroom before your next one. But now, when the only thing you have to do is attend a lecture, it can be hard to set a schedule at home. The best thing that helped me was to write out my to-do lists in my planner and set a different schedule for each day based on my list, rather than having the same one. This helped me adapt to this new lifestyle of learning and I was able to find a looser, but still successful way to accomplish my tasks. 

Everyone learns differently

I found out in elementary school that I am a visual learner. This means that I prefer to look at information to absorb it rather than hear it. This can be difficult during COVID when nearly all lectures are pre-recorded. So as a result, I did not feel guilty if I just read the slides and took notes from the readings, rather than watch the entire lectures. It’s important to find a method of learning that works best for you!

Don't be too hard on yourself during these times

I think we had this feeling that since things are online, college will be easier. That has definitely not been the case for me. It feels as though we’re getting twice the work with more hectic deadlines and that can cause a lot of pressure on people during these already tough times. I think it is important to emphasize self-care during these times and know it’s okay to not get straight A’s or perfect scores. You are only human and this experience has been different for all of us. 

This past year has not been easy. I think we should be proud of ourselves for getting this far. While next semester might be the same as this, remember that it’s okay to prioritize yourself. 

Take care, collegiettes.

George Mason Contributor (GMU)

George Mason University '50

Want to get involved, or have a story idea we should write about? Email us! hc.georgemason@hercampus.com
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