As we wrap up the first two weeks back to in-person classes, my general conclusion (which might be a little obvious) is that this method of teaching is so much better. Having classes in-person has drastically changed my productivity and focus during class; I feel more motivated and excited to learn when I’m physically in the classroom. But I will be honest: when Notre Dame went online for two weeks, I was grateful. Here’s why:
- Rolling out of bed —quite literally— is the best feeling ever
I’m sure students who have morning classes can relate to this one. Getting ready in the morning sucks. Personally, I have to account for the time it takes to comfortably get ready, eat breakfast and walk to class. So when I changed my alarm from ringing at 7:30 to 9:00 in the morning(ten minutes before my class) it felt like heaven. Besides, being able to eat snacks on the side while taking notes is just a huge plus. I also had my first ever Chinese test the Wednesday we went to online classes. What was going to be a stressful night of studying actually became a stress-free night of studying because I knew I no longer had to wake up early in the morning. Spoiler: I ended up taking my morning class in bed.
- No more wasted down-time
When signing up for classes, I thought having breaks of 1-2 hours between classes would be great. Simple answer: it sucks. For example, I finish my class at 10 then have an awkward 30 minute interval before my second class, then have another 50 minute break until my next one. Now, it only takes 8-10 minutes for me to walk from class to class, so these breaks in between classes are cumbersome periods where I only have 15-20 minutes of actual productive work time, but it’s also too big of a time period for me to just be scrolling TikTok.
With all my classes on Zoom, however, I had the full 50 minutes to finish my homework, catch up on reading or even grab a meal and comfortably eat it in time before class.
- Diverse Environment = More Productive Study
Over the course of the two-week lockdown, I took Theology from the comfort of my bed, Moreau in the Dahnke ballroom and Econ in the grass (shoutout to the nice grassy area by Bond Hall). By switching up my study environments, I was actually excited for class and felt more focused during the lectures. Yes, you could argue that it gets distracting, but it was just nice to be able to take classes outside of the classic wooden chair and desk setting.
- You actually get the “big picture” view of your classes
Sitting in a huge room six feet apart from everyone else limits you in so many ways. You only get to meet a handful of people, and even then, you have to talk slowly and clearly so they can hear you over two barriers: your mask and the distance. But with Zoom, a simple click shows you a grid view of 16 people (don’t tell me you haven’t done this before). And especially if you log in early, you get the joy of just scrolling through the names and associating these names with faces.
All in all, I’m glad to be back in a classroom where I can comfortably ask questions without having to pray that no one else is also unmuted. With all of this in mind I do occasionally miss those lockdown days where I could be in class without a mask and eat all the chips I wanted without worrying about how loud I’m being.