Finding a New Normal with Distance Learning

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Article by Olivia Sullivan, Columnist

Image Courtesy of Daniel De La Rosa

Though I do believe that online classes are most definitely necessary during this Coronavirus pandemic, they are not the most ideal. Since classes transitioned to being completely online, it feels as if my typical workload has nearly doubled. One class now has the workload of two or three classes. Although I do not have to sit in a classroom for hours, that doesn’t mean I suddenly have enough time to complete double or triple the work. Most students have a full load of classes and some are even considered essential workers.  In my opinion, the experience could be better.

 I know this whole situation came as a surprise to everyone. It is something we are learning how to work through together. Now, I do not blame the staff and faculty for not having much time to figure things out before students had access to the material. However, some professors have figured out what is working and what is not working faster than others. 

I think my weekly routine captures what this experience is really like. 

Every week, I get a few emails from some of my professors telling me what I need to be reading, listening to, or completing for the week. This is helpful because it allows me to see if I am staying on track or not. I am grateful for the professors that do this. 

Next, I go through my CourseConnect pages. Unlike any other semester, I still have all my syllabi pulled up. I used to always rely on updates during class, where I could write everything down in my planner. Now, I go through all of my classes and make note of which assignments are due each day for that week. I lay the whole week out so I do not miss anything. I have found this system to work best for me. I cannot imagine what my stress levels would look like if I did not do this. 

When it comes to the classes that I do not receive any emails for, I just hope that I am doing what I am supposed to. I have had to re-read my course materials countless times. I have run close to deadlines and have almost forgotten about assignments I would normally never forget about. 

I prefer the way things used to be. I am doing my best to be okay with working my way through online classes temporarily.  It isn’t easy communicating through documents instead of being able to be face-to-face with people and professors. It definitely has made me realize how important it is to actually sit in a classroom, and how much I miss that setting. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. When we get back to being able to learn together, I’ll be appreciative for it. 

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