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Virtual Classes: The Pros and Cons

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Virginia Tech chapter.

As our unique semester is coming to a close, I wanted to take some time to reflect on my experience with online courses. After leaving campus for spring break, I never would have imagined that I wouldn’t be back in my first class Monday morning. We all had to adjust to so many new things all at once, and I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to reflect on the negatives of this entire experience. Let yourself feel.

Whether or not this is going to be our reality next semester is still up in the air, and although that can be nerve-racking, it’s a reality we’ll have to face. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of a virtual semester. 

MacBook Air on white desk beside gold-colored study lamp and spiral books
Arnel Hasanovic, Unsplash

Professors are understanding

I’ve had a few professors who have made final projects, papers and tests optional. Just like we are going through change, so are our professors and because of this, they’re willing to do anything to make our lives as well as their own easier. Professors have become more empathetic since we are all experiencing hard times.

If we were still proceeding with instruction as normal, professors may not have been as understanding regarding our finals and the added stress they cause to our complex personal lives.

Scheduling freedom

Since I’m not physically going to class, I’ve found that I have a lot more freedom regarding my schedule. I can wake up however earlier or late that I want and plan my day around doing all of my assignments. Despite a few zoom classes that take place at a set time, everything else I can do at my own pace.

For someone good with time management, I’ve learned to create a structure that works for me. During the times that I would be in a lecture if we were on campus, with virtual classes, I can spend time completing assignments or studying for that class. Although some days are harder than others, for the most part, this has been an extremely positive attribute for me.

More time to do the things I love

Because I have the freedom to create my schedule, I can also fill it with doing the things I love. When classes were on campus, my day was consumed with academic and extracurricular work. There was nothing particularly wrong with that, but I had very little time to do things that made me happy. Now that I can control my schedule, I’ve found more time to say yes to taking care of myself and reflecting on how I can use that same principle when we are back on campus. Even though I’m still a student, my workload does not consume my life like it used to.


Technical difficulties

Virtual courses have placed a significant amount of dependence on technology. Now, if your internet happens not to work one day you cannot attend a zoom lecture or complete any of your assignments. I’ve found that my laptop needs to be changed multiple times a day because I’m always using it. Or if my internet connection is bad, I can’t be mentally present in a zoom lecture or meeting because I’m trying to fix it.

No separation between home and school 

When I’m on campus, I always look forward to breaks because at home I can relax. Since I’ve been in college for almost two years now, my mind associates it as a relaxing place where I can get a break from the academic stressors that come with college. However, now that we are completely virtual, I no longer have the luxury of keeping those two aspects of my life separate. I have to be disciplined in completing my school work at home because I have no other choice. With the libraries and cafes around me being closed, my dining room table has turned into the new library. 

More distractions

At home, many things keep me distracted from doing my school work. Whether it’s the temptation to binge-watch Netflix or my sisters invading my workspace, it can be hard to put my full concentration into my assignments. While I’m on campus, I have great control over how I let distractions affect me.

Now that I’m at home, I do not have that control over my distractions and one strategy doesn’t work to limit them because they can change every day. There are many days that I’ve had to revert to isolation to effectively complete what I need to get done for the day. 

studying with coffee
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash
The end of the semester has been crazy for all of us and I understand that your experience may not be the same as mine, but as it’s coming to an end, try to make your pros and cons list! It has helped me analyze and reflect on my experiences as well as identify areas of improvement.

Elizabeth Owusu

Virginia Tech '22

Elizabeth is a undergrad at Virginia Tech and is a double major in Sociology and Political Science. Her top three favorite things to do are hangout with friends, working out, and writing. Fun Fact, her favorite food is boneless wings! Her ideal night includes cuddling up under a warm blanket watching the Bold Type. In addition to Her Campus, she is involved in the Sociology/ Criminology club, a living learning community, and a foundation focused on empowering young girls called AWARE. From her experience writing with Her Campus, she hopes to grow as a writer by stepping out of her comfort zone as well as connect to people. Her instagram is: Elizaabeth14.
Camden Carpenter

Virginia Tech '21

Senior studying Smart and Sustainable Cities, with hopes to become a traveling urban developer. Attemping to embody "Carpe Diem" in her everyday life, both physically by getting a tattoo of the quote, and mentally by taking risks while trying to maximize each day's full potential.