The beginning of the academic year is always exciting: you buy cute notebooks and pens, you make resolutions to not leave assignments until the night before, you promise yourself that you’re going to attend every lecture, and so on… The start of the 2020 academic year was no different.
I knew that starting my third year of education meant that the workload would be a little bit heavier, the expectations a little higher but I was really looking forward to Professional Experience in June/July. The first couple of weeks of Uni were great. We were on campus for all our classes and student life at ACPE was buzzing.
However, as the reality of COVID-19 hit Sydney, after almost 3 weeks of classes, the college shut down for a week to transition to remote learning. I may be slightly dramatic but receiving the news that ALL learning would take place remotely was pretty devastating. Like many others, I was not keen on studying through Zoom and I was concerned that my limited attention span would not be able to cope with sitting behind a computer for 3 hours.
At first, it was a real challenge and I had to get used to a whole new way of learning. There were plenty of classes where I just could not sit still or focus on my computer screen. I missed seeing Uni mates on campus. I struggled to find the motivation to do my assignments. I didn’t like not having a community around me. I missed having a ‘hands-on’ experience of classes. For example, in ‘Composition and Performance’, we went from doing Gymnastics at the Gymnastics Centre in Sydney Olympic Park to trying to copy our tutor on Zoom in our living rooms, bedrooms, and workplaces… To say it was an interesting experience is an understatement…
However, as time went on, I quickly learned the many benefits of learning remotely: I could stay in my pyjama bottoms and wear fluffy socks when on a zoom call; I didn’t have to spend time commuting to get onto campus meaning my car’s fuel consumption decreased and my number of hours of sleep increased, I could bring my food into class and many more!
But Zoom and I will always have a love-hate relationship. There were plenty of awkward Zoom moments: thinking you’re on mute when you’re not and saying goodbye but then struggling to find the ‘leave meeting’ button just to name a few. However, I am grateful for Zoom in allowing me to continue to study in the middle of a global pandemic. I also think that our academics deserve a huge round of applause for the work that they put into our online learning. If learning is tough behind a screen, imagine trying to teach!
So, here’s to a year of challenges, a year of Zoom, and a year of overcoming a tonne of challenges as Uni students!