After a year of breakout rooms, class from bed and nice shirts with sweatpants, the thought of going back to in-person classes almost seems abnormal. This time last year, Zoom was still a foreign concept to me. Now, it is one of the most used applications on my computer. As someone with a photographic and visual memory who thrives off of interactive learning, adjusting to class on a computer screen was originally a difficult concept for me to digest. Looking to my left and seeing a bed instead of my classmate felt anything but normal. However, after time, seeing my classmates on gallery view became the new norm. Change is hard, but after time, adjusting to something new no longer feels abnormal. Now, one year later, I am more than used to clicking on Zoom links, virtually raising my hand to speak in class and typing my opinions in a chat room.
Now, as the semester comes to an end and registration for the upcoming fall semester starts, it’s time for me to come to terms with my old norm. What once felt so comfortable to me now feels almost uncomfortable. Being in a lecture hall or classroom instead of my own bedroom for in-person class suddenly seems like a foreign concept. Nonetheless, if there is anything I’ve learned from this pandemic, it’s that life can change in a split second, and the best thing I can do is face any upcoming problem with a positive attitude and prepare myself in any way I can. In fact, many rising sophomores have never experienced a normal college class. Naturally, getting back into the swing of things with in-person classes can be a challenge for many. Here are some tips to ensure success as an attendee:
- Plan out your time in advance
One of the many luxuries of Zoom classes is I could easily roll out of bed and log on just a few minutes before the start time of the given class. With in-person classes, it’s easy to forget to allocate time toward getting fully ready and walking to class. Many classes are far away and planning your time is a necessity. Also, if you have a preference as to where you sit in a classroom, it’s vital you arrive early.
- Re-familiarize yourself with fast-paced notetaking
If you are anything like me, it’s difficult to not write down everything a teacher says. However, professors tend to move quickly through presentations. Practice taking handwritten and online notes, and re-familiarize yourself with writing down important concepts.
- Stay open-minded about making friends
After a year of online classes, it’s easy to hide behind a screen to find help with questions or group project partners. However, I’ve always found myself to benefit from forming actual class friends in person. Bouncing ideas off one another helps me improve my skills, and I hope to carry on with this next year.
- Prepare yourself for in-person office hours and meetings with teachers
Aside from in-person mandatory classes, adjusting to in-person meetings and office hours is definitely a part of this change. Building a relationship with your teacher has always helped me, and utilizing whatever advantages I have always boosts my learning experience. Office hours and one-on-one meetings often seem intimidating from a glance; however, going that extra mile can make a huge difference.
Back-and-forth change can seem stressful, but, after a long year of sitting in my room behind a computer screen, I’m looking forward to this change for the better.