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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Toronto chapter.

Edited by Olivia Spahn-Vieira

When I first heard that the Fall 2020 semester was going to be around 90% online, I was relieved. As someone who has a one hour commute to school everyday and that lives with people with weakened immune systems, it was as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. 

It may sound odd but I was enthusiastic about the new online approach. During my four years of high school, I always took an online class during the summer, therefore I felt like I was somewhat well-equipped for what was coming this semester. However, with the circumstances these days, it proved to be harder than I thought it was.

Here is a quick rundown of how my official first week of second year went: 


  • I didn’t have officially scheduled classes today but I still woke up at 10 am. 

  • I was too lazy to get properly *properly* dressed so I decided to just wear some pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt.  

  • I completed my first asynchronous art history lecture of the year! 

  • Maybe this wasn’t going to be so bad. 

  • I worked out an hour or so after lunch because I 100% knew that if I pushed it to the evening, there would be a huge change that I wouldn’t want to do it. 

  • I made myself dinner (I guess *made* is a strong word here, as my dinner consisted of a whole sesame seed bagel with cream cheese and Greek yogurt with honey drizzled on it). 

  • I decided to do the next day’s reading, showered and phoned it in for the day! 


  • I woke up slightly earlier than the day before and decided to make myself (well, my top half at least) look presentable for my first Zoom lecture!

  • The slight hitch is that I’d never used Zoom previously and honestly, I’m not totally sure how it worked.

  • About ten minutes before the scheduled time, I rushed to download it and hurriedly joined my class.

  • With the class out of the way. I felt much more confident in my Zoom abilities, even though those abilities were limited to finding the sound and camera button and the chat function. 

  • I went out on a run around the neighborhood during the afternoon and spent the rest of the day reading through course syllabi. 


  • I woke up around the same time as I did on Tuesday, and decided to make brownies. 

  • At about 11:30 am, they were in the oven. While I waited, I did an online lecture.

  • In the middle of the lecture, I decided to conduct an experiment for the semester ahead. I decided to hand write my notes for half of my classes and write them on my laptop for the other half. 

  • Over the years, the one thing that all of my teachers and professors collectively agreed upon is that lecture notes written by hand were more effective in helping memorization and generally becoming familiar with the topic at hand. However there is one big flaw in this strategy; it doesn’t account for slow writers! 

  • Because nearly all of my courses would be recorded, I had the option to pause, go back and adjust the volume, which is extremely convenient for notes taken by hand or electronically. 

  • Later in the afternoon, I completed another lecture (two lectures in one day! I felt like this was the epitome of productivity). 

  • For dinner, I devoured half of the pan of brownies I baked this morning. 


  • I woke up at 11 am but stayed in bed and scrolled through Instagram until about an hour later. 

  • After lunch, I dragged myself in front of my laptop for another Zoom lecture.

  • I was already feeling more confident about my Zoom abilities. Maybe this wasn’t so hard after all! 

  • That being said, for some reason, my screen would not disappear from the corner of my professor’s screen during the entire lecture. Thank goodness my camera was turned off! 

  • Honestly, I was kind of exhausted, so I decided to relax. 

  • I went to bed after making myself chocolate protein overnight oats for breakfast the next day. 


  • I woke up early for my first Zoom tutorial of the year!

  • I decided to go all out by dressing up and even doing my makeup (which I had not done since mid-July).

  • I ate the oats I made myself the night before; for the lack of a better word, they tasted somewhat odd? They were very salty and chalky, which made for a weird tasting experience. 

  • After my tutorial, I had lunch and did a HIIT workout. 

  • Seeing as I completed all of this week’s lectures and tutorials (!), I watched movies for the rest of the day. 

Needless to say, my first week back was a bit… odd. I really missed going to campus, talking to new people and exploring Toronto after my classes. I honestly did not think I’d miss these things because at least online schooling meant that I would not have to commute, but boy was I wrong! 

What worked about this new online school system? I really liked that lectures were recorded. I feel like this is a thing that should be implemented even when the pandemic is over and we can resume university classes as they were before. The convenience of pausing or going back to properly hear a concept is a game changer. This could become a good tool to accommodate different types of students with different abilities. 

Now, what did not work? I feel as though it is incredibly easy to feel isolated this year. With many if not most things being online, it is difficult to meet new people and build friendships. This is why I would suggest joining clubs, student publications or simply checking in on your existing friends, even though this is so much easier said than done. 

Celina Lee

U Toronto '23

Celina Lee is currently a second-year student at the University of Toronto. She is double-majoring in Art History and Cinema Studies and minoring in Classical Civilization.