With COVID-19 sending the academic world into an online, virtual manifest, college courses have adapted a system consisting of asynchronous (do-it-whenever) classes and synchronous (traditionally scheduled) classes.
Being a person that prefers a schedule and a routine for my academic obligations, I decided to enroll in four synchronous classes for the fall 2020 semester. I knew this would allow me to wake up, shower, eat breakfast and dive into my schoolwork. Long story short, only one out of the four synchronous classes I signed up for remained synchronous, ruining my mapped out schedule and any hopes of developing a regular routine.
Throughout my life, I have operated under the philosophy of wearing “different hats,” in other words, putting myself in different headspaces depending on what I’m doing. I wear a different hat at work, school, when I’m at home with my family, when I’m with my friends, when I perform on stage, when I spend time with my significant other and so on.
In a nutshell, when I have to do my school work from home and there is no scheduled meeting time for my classes, it’s really freaking difficult to put on my school hat.
There are many different ways to play the game of life, which is why I completely understand the combination of asynchronous and synchronous classes depending on what game of life one plays, but is it really that difficult to have a healthy balance of both class types and to keep them in their advertised form?
For an academic-minded person like me, synchronous classes enable human engagement, live question asking, live notetaking, networking, a consistent pace of learning and it enables me to put on my fancy school hat; not the funky bed head that I wake up with in the morning.
Now more than halfway through the semester, I can confidently say the following: I’m not on a comfortable schedule. I’m not retaining a majority of the course material. I’m procrastinating most of my schoolwork. At this point, I’m just getting by until the semester ends.
I know what one might be thinking. Create a schedule, find a way to retain the information, don’t procrastinate your schoolwork and be willing to adapt.
You don’t think I’m trying?
It’s an ongoing struggle to be a college student, specifically during the COVID era. As young adults, we are expected to hold ourselves accountable for our actions, especially with college, since you are the one choosing to go and the one paying for it.
Growing up in the non-COVID era, a majority of us were constructed in a certain way. We woke up, went to school, paid attention during class, came home, did homework and went to bed. Ironically, the script has changed now that we are college students. Great timing.
Now in the process of planning my spring 2021 semester, I plan on taking at least three synchronous classes. Again, this will allow me to create a comfortable schedule, the opportunity to engage, learn and hopefully a chance to turn over a new leaf in my online college experience.
Across the country, countless teachers, professors, faculty members, administrators and students are all doing the best they can in these unprecedented times. We are all walking in this unmarked territory together.
Not all students can easily adapt to online learning, and neither can faculty members. However, we need balance in all types of online classes so that students can pick what will help them achieve their academic goals.
College students across the globe are currently figuring out how to play the academic game of life in the way that works best for them. Let me play my game too. Please?