Students share lessons learned from online school

Media Credit: Photo Illustration by Camille DeSanto | Assistant Photo Editor

For some students, the need to organize and map out due dates in advance became more important after classes moved online.

With nearly a year of remote learning under their belt, students said they feel more prepared to tackle the challenges of a second full online semester.

Students said throughout the fall, they’ve learned to separate their home lives with class expectations despite working and living in the same space. As universities gear up for another physically distant semester, they said their peers should prioritize organization and maintaining social connections.

From one student to another, here are some tips for succeeding during another virtual semester:

Form a virtual study group
Freshman Emma DeLattre said she formed study groups and signed up for office hour appointments with professors to make up for the lack of in-person interactions.

“I reached out a lot to my professors throughout the semester trying to ask questions, meet them, see their faces so it wasn’t just like I was taking a class with a robot, more or less,” DeLattre said.

She said keeping in touch with her study groups and professors helped her create long-lasting relationships that she can carry over once classes are back in person. After setting up regular Zoom study sessions with a couple of friends to help one another through their statistics course last semester, DeLattre said she now plans to meet up with them in D.C. this spring.

Turn on your cameras and participate
Senior Min Wong said students should turn on their cameras and participate to get the most out of class.

She said one perk of online learning is that professors are more interested in their students’ academic success and overall well-being, given the mental toll of the pandemic. Having her cameras on has forced her to engage in class discussions, retain knowledge and have candid conversations with professors.

“It felt kind of like the professors were really trying to get an in-person and collaborative feeling as much as possible,” Wong said.

Meet your professors halfway
Senior Alexa Brooks-Major said professors have been generally accommodating throughout the past two semesters, and students shouldn’t take advantage of their flexibility.

“I felt that my professors were more trusting with students,” Brooks-Major said. “It wasn’t a matter of, ‘Oh, why don’t you get this work done?’” but rather, ‘Oh, I understand there’s a lot on your plate right now.’”

Brooks-Major said students should treat their professors with the same care they’re being offered, adding that they should participate and connect with professors as much as possible.

Take control of your workspace
For many students like senior Madeline Hennig, online classes have also paved the way for students to customize their optimal learning environment. Instead of staying at home for the semester, the international business major said she rented an apartment in D.C. with her best friend where the two both studied together and enjoyed one another’s company.

She said organization and planning is essential to ensure all of her Blackboard modules and discussion posts – now a common task for many students – are completed on time. Hennig said this is her first semester using Google Calendar where she sets reminders for the due dates of every assignment for class.

“If I didn’t have Google Calendar, I would have not been able to survive,” Hennig said.

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