This school year has been all but “normal” for many of us, and although people are returning to campus for the spring, a lot of people (including myself) are still taking classes from home. For the most part, I have LOVED being home. I’m really close with my family, so having the opportunity to spend so much time with them has been great. Of course, I miss my friends more than words could ever express, but being at home hasn’t been the worst thing in the world.
However, that’s not to say that life at home doesn’t have its challenges.
Especially when the majority of your classmates are attending class in person and you’re pretty much all alone online. Being the only one, or one of only a few online can be awkward at times. The first week of hybrid classes was kind of rough (lol) but it all worked out and I’m thankful to have professors who are working so hard to make sure remote students are taken care of and including us in what’s going on in the classroom.
Outside the classroom though, the challenge is more so dealing with the sadness of missing your friends and feeling like you’re missing out on whatever’s happening on campus. Just the other day, people were apparently out on the quad having a snowball fight, and even though during any normal semester I’d be the last person to be out there playing in the snow, for some reason, I kept wishing I was there!
[Editor’s Note: We can personally verify that Jayda would most definitely be the last person to participate in a snowball fight, she is not being hyperbolic.]
Everyone’s remote experience will be different, but there are a few things that we should all keep in mind that I think will make this time much better for all of us.
1. Speak up when things aren’t going right
Unlike last semester where everyone was online, this time around it may be easy for those in-person to forget to speak closer to the mic or share their screen on Zoom so that the remote students can hear and participate. This can be frustrating, but it just takes a little extra communication on our part to let professors know what could be adjusted to make class time better for remote students. But just be patient in the process and show yourself and others grace as we all learn to navigate this hybrid space together.
2. Call your friends often
This one has been challenging for me to put into practice at times. I’m a pretty shy person and talking to people on the phone has always made me super anxious. But. I love and miss my friends a ton, so it’s worth pushing through any discomfort I may feel. Also, catching up with friends is a good way to fill up the extra downtime you may have being in the house more often than usual!
3. Take advantage of virtual events
Although it’s not the same as being in the physical space, I think going to virtual events is probably the best way to feel connected to campus while at home. There’s always something going on, so if you’re bored at home, or just missing being on campus, try going to a virtual event two. Another plus to this is that you can try things you may never have tried at school and you can connect with both people on campus and other remote learners this way.
4. See this time as an opportunity, not a disadvantage
This is not at all how I imagined I would spend my last semester of college, but, ultimately, I felt that it was the best and safest decision for me and my family. And even though it’s not something I wanted to happen, being bummed out about it all the time and resenting the situation wouldn’t change a thing. So, instead, I think it’s best to look at the good that can come out of this time at home – maybe start a new hobby, try something new, spend extra time with family – or just take advantage of this time to be still.
Whatever it is, just try your best to stay positive, focus on the good, and know that this is our situation only for a season – this won’t last forever :)