5 Things I Wish I Told Myself At The Beginning Of This Online School Year

Having experienced three quarters of Zoom university, I’ve realized how different my habits are now compared to when school first went online back in March of last year and when the school year first started. There’s only one quarter left for this school year, and it’s made me think of what I could’ve done at the beginning to have a better online experience. Though I do hold some regrets about what I could’ve improved in terms of studying, organization, sleep schedule, and extracurricular activities, the online experience hasn’t been too terrible for me. Thus, here are five things I wish I told myself at the start of this online school year: 

  1. 1. Don’t stack up on Zoom meetings at the same time.

    Laptops on a table

    Because everything is online, I’ve intentionally scheduled different Zoom meetings at the same time. I would attend one meeting on my laptop, and I would attend a different Zoom on my phone using a different account. Although it has worked, at times it’s been stressful and confusing to keep up with information coming from two different speakers and having to pay attention twice as hard. It gets difficult to keep track of what people are saying when I’m attending meetings at the same time, and it’s also just as distracting trying to do tasks for each respective meeting.

  2. 2. Go to more club meetings and socials.

    zoom call with friends

    Personally, I haven’t gone to any Zoom meetings or socials for any clubs this year that I wasn’t a part of last year. I didn’t go because I felt that the experience wouldn’t be the same for meeting new people like how it was with in-person events. Additionally, after experiencing awkward breakout rooms during discussion sections of class, I didn’t want to have to go through the same thing with clubs. However, I wish I had gone to Zoom club meetings throughout the quarters because even if the format is online, I could’ve made some connections. Although the introductions may be awkward over Zoom, when activities are in-person, I would’ve been able to reconnect with someone I met virtually.

  3. 3. Watch your lectures live even if they are recorded.

    Writing in Planner

    This is probably a universal problem with many other students, but I only went to a few live lectures this school year. Most of my classes were recorded, so I didn’t have to attend them live. For this reason, I never attended live lectures and would watch the recordings. This worked for the first two weeks of each quarter, but as the weeks went by I slowly slacked off. Instead of watching the lectures on the day of when they were released, I began to watch them weeks later and even days before an exam. This quarter, I plan to stay on top of my recordings and watch them when they’re released.

  4. 4. Use your calendar!

    weekly planner on a tablet

    If I could ingrain this into my brain, I would. At the start of the school year, I didn’t really use my calendar on my laptop because it seemed too tedious to schedule my work, meetings, and classes on the calendar every week. However, now that I’ve been using the Apple calendar, life has been so much easier in terms of planning and scheduling. Having my work schedule, club meetings, and classes on a visual database makes it so much easier for me to find free time in planning for other events as well. I wish I had started using this calendar at the beginning of this online school year instead of just recently. 

  5. 5. Be proactive in looking for career-oriented opportunities.

    Because everything has been online, I haven’t looked for many opportunities to work toward my career. However, even when everything is online, I’ve found remote opportunities recently. If I had applied earlier, I probably would’ve been able to do more in terms of extracurricular activities to get more experience. Now, I’m just hoping that I can find remote opportunities over spring quarter and summer to give me an opportunity to do work in my prospective career field. 

Online school is a new experience for most students. The experience may seem impersonal and draining with the back-to-back Zoom meetings, but there are things that I could’ve done to improve my experience online. Although I didn’t adhere to my advice at the beginning of the school year, I now engage in better habits that have made online schooling less difficult. Zoom university has been draining and monotonous, but I hope that these new habits will help me stay on top of my school and assignments this spring quarter.