After a month away from Oberlin, I have grown to miss many things. I miss going to Mudd at night time and having a great place to study. I miss seeing people around campus without having to worry about social distancing. I miss the fun campus events that I would go to with my friends.
While this list could go on and on, one of the biggest things I miss is in-person learning. Oberlin has such a supportive learning community that challenges you and pushes you to new heights; it is a beautiful thing to be a part of. While this community has been resilient through the online learning process, it cannot truly be the same as it is in person. In this blog, I will discuss how my academic life has changed now that my studies are online.
One of the significant things that have changed for me is where I study. When I was in Oberlin I would do all of my assignments in either Mudd Center library or the science library. Only one time did I ever do an assignment in my dorm room and that assignment was to watch a movie for my cinema studies class.
My study area has changed drastically, as now I do all of my work on my bed. Every single assignment. This is not something I necessarily enjoy as it is hard to work in the same place you sleep. One thing I would suggest to people in a similar situation is to pull something next to your bed that you can sit on and use your bed as a table. Also, before you start doing work on your bed, get up, and get ready for the day! The first thing I do every morning is drink water, get dressed, and get something to eat. These are the exact same things I would have done at Oberlin. I feel it is essential to have consistency to prepare yourself for the rest of the day.
In terms of working habits, the time I am able to mentally do work has definitely decreased. When I was in Oberlin, I would be comfortable in my study room, focused, and prepared to work. This allowed me to sit there and study for hours. Doing work at home is much different. I seem to only have short time frames where I can mentally do work and once that burst is over I am done.
Also, I would study well into the night at Oberlin, finishing up around midnight when I was busy with assignments. At home, though, as soon as the sun goes down I rarely do work. It is not for a lack of effort either, I simply cannot mentally process anything at night.
On another note, Oberlin has really stepped up in providing resources to succeed. They have continued OWLS, which is peer to peer tutoring for STEM classes. OWLS provides homework help, practice problems, and even emotional support. The professors have also been very flexible with office hours and even answering questions well after regular class time ends. I have been very impressed with how the professors were able to pivot their classes without losing the core value of what we are studying. In my comparative American studies class, we have been writing blogs for a website that is covering the social aspects of the Coronavirus. I have really enjoyed this assignment and thanks to it I could really see myself pursuing a career as a writer in the future.
I encourage all the students who read this blog to find one thing they look forward to every day. Whether that be watching a new Netflix show, doing a socially distant workout, talking to a friend, or even just sitting down and drawing. Every day you wake up, find that one thing you want to do today, and then tell yourself the work you want to get done before you do the thing you’re looking forward to. This will help you keep going when you are feeling down.
While online classes were not the plan for the semester, I am doing my best to adjust. Oberlin has done a wonderful job of taking care of us students and providing resources for us to continue our top tier education.
As a STEM major, I feel well prepared for the future. I cannot wait to return to campus next semester. While I have struggled to adjust to some changes, the important thing is I continue to find motivation and continue to work towards the future. Feel free to comment below on how your online learning experience has been and make sure to leave some advice on how you are adjusting to the situation!