Adapting to Online Classes
You wake up, log onto your computer, and stare at your screen for five hours a day before clicking “leave meeting”. After that, you start your hours of homework. Who could predict our world would experience a global pandemic, forcing us to have online classes? With little time to adapt to these changes, it took a great deal of patience, perseverance, and balance for me to overcome the challenges that came with online classes.
Ever since the pandemic began, administrators talked about how difficult online classes would be for the students and teachers. Like many others, the biggest challenge I faced for online school was finding a balance between school and personal life. Before online classes, my home was a place to escape from school, complete homework, and also spend time with my family and friends. However, once the pandemic hit, and schools had to teach online, I noticed that it was difficult for me to find that healthy balance and differentiate when I should work, and when I should take a break. Because I struggled to separate my work from my personal life, I ended up feeling overwhelmed with tasks, which showed in my performance. I felt so consumed by school, where I felt like there was no time to take care of myself or enjoy my hobbies. I am sure many others have or are currently experiencing that feeling of “if I do well in school, my life is perfect”. That is a lie that you need to stop believing! Just because you’re doing school from home, does not mean that it defines you as a person. It takes time to get past this mindset, but what I found helpful was creating a pie chart that visually represented how much I wanted to spend on things such as school, self-care, family, and hobbies. The pie chart reminded me that there are so many other things in my life that add value to who I am besides classes, which helped me discover what my healthy balance looked like. Below is an example of what my pie chart looks like for this semester:
It was difficult for my family and myself to see me struggle to find a balance. I realized that with a new situation, it called for new strategies, therefore I re-evaluated what previous strategies were working, and what needed to be replaced. The trial-and-error period was tough, but I tried my best to not be discouraged because I knew that it would take time for me to create a solid plan that I could continue long term. I think this period of struggle was also a friendly reminder that it is important to allow yourself time to grow and learn from your mistakes. After going through the trial-and-error period a few times, I realized that allocating specific time for school and relaxation was one key method that worked well for me and was something I could realistically continue. By chunking out time for school and myself, it allowed me to be in a better headspace, which also improved my mental health.
With everything online, it can feel intimidating and difficult to make friends in your classes. Back when school was in person, I used to exchange phone numbers with classmates so we could work together and hang out, however, a lot of students, including myself, already feel overwhelmed with just the content in our online classes. I found that joining clubs was a great way to make connections since they host virtual social events and informative workshops.
Like many others, I too am experiencing the same struggles and feelings. How do you find the balance? How can I make connections when everything is online? I hope that sharing my experience with overcoming these obstacles will inspire you to evaluate your current routine and whether you are using all the resources available at your disposal.