March 13, 2020: Ryerson classes transition to an online format in response to the pandemic. At the time, I didn’t even consider that I wouldn’t be returning to campus in the fall. But more than one year later and here we are—still attending classes virtually.
Plans for next fall are currently unclear with Ryerson set to make an announcement on June 9. Meanwhile students like myself have continued to adapt and learn from the new normal.
It has been a trying but insightful year that has made me fundamentally reevaluate what is truly important during times of challenge and uncertainty. Here are six lessons I learned after taking one year of online classes.
1. You have to hold yourself accountable
When I first started university, it became blatantly obvious how quickly one could fall behind on their classes. However, I didn’t realize that this could be even more extreme online.
Turns out that not being able to physically move between classes makes losing track of time and forgetting about your assignments incredibly easy. I’ve found that setting goals and allocating time in Google Calendar for each of my activities, helps me to hold myself accountable.
2. Routine is key
Keeping a daily routine can assist in maintaining motivation for attending class and staying on top of your assignments. I’ve found that getting dressed—even if I’m going nowhere—helps me to stick to a routine and makes me feel productive. As much as I enjoy my pyjamas, I prefer getting my work done more.
But the most important piece of advice I can give you is to sleep and wake up at reasonable hours.
3. Staying safe does not mean isolation
We all sometimes miss having the company of others while doing homework or studying. But just because we can’t meet up in person, doesn’t mean we can’t message or call!
Having support from your loved ones during difficult times is crucial. Even if it’s just checking in for five minutes with your friends, make sure you stay connected!
4. Technical problems happen
“Sorry, my Internet dropped” is the new “my train got delayed.” These things unfortunately just come with the territory of classes being online. Luckily, most professors are understanding of these circumstances.
5. Online etiquette = classroom etiquette
Everything from classes to job interviews are now done online. And just because it’s all online, doesn’t mean that the standard rules of being professional don’t apply.
Make sure your microphone is muted when you’re not speaking, especially if you’re eating. And if you’re required to turn your camera on, make sure that your background is appropriate. Nobody wants to see a messy bedroom.
6. How much I miss Ryerson
Above all else, this past year has made me realize how much I miss being on campus. I miss grabbing lunch from the Hub Café. I miss doing Brazilian jiu-jitsu at the Recreation and Athletic Centre. And I miss writing blog posts for WhyRyerson from my cubicle.
Hopefully, I will be back on campus to enjoy my final year surrounded by the students, professors and staff that make Ryerson, Ryerson. Until then, I will continue to work hard and see to it that I finish this virtual semester strong.