Silver Linings During a Virtual Semester

Last semester was been anything but normal. However, I can officially say I have made it through the fall semester! Thinking about only having one more semester before I start my “big girl” job is equally exciting as it is nerve-wracking. When I started my journey in the MAcc program, I was worried about how I would be able to engage in the classroom and learn as much while sitting at my desk in my bedroom instead of being in class. As the semester went along, I got used to working in my virtual environment and even found a few silver linings that may help you find the positives of learning virtually!

1. Virtual Group Project Meetings

Group projects can be difficult, and I completely understand. Between finding time to work together and staying focused as a group, you can be fairly unproductive and waste so much time. One thing I realized this past semester is the beauty of Zoom group meetings. Being able to meet for half an hour in between classes or in the evening after everyone is done with classes via Zoom was really helpful. Instead of finding time to meet at Fisher and spending the time walking to Fisher and walking home, we could get on Zoom and work when everyone could be productive. It was also easier for some people to speak up and voice their opinions over Zoom instead of in person. It can be a little less intimidating when you are not in the same room as everyone else. I realized that we were able to efficiently and effectively work together so we could hang out on Zoom after and get to know each other as well.

2. Flexibility

I learned to love and take advantage of the flexibility that virtual classes can provide. I was able to schedule time for my classes and homework before the week started. Some virtual classes had specific meeting times and others had lectures to watch at any time during the week. This allowed me to plan when I wanted to watch those lectures around my other classes and work. Since most days I was not walking to Fisher to have classes, I could take advantage of that extra time to exercise more, spend more time with my roommates, and work on new hobbies. After learning how to effectively manage my time, I had enough time each week to get my schoolwork completed so I could also do safe and fun activities. (The flexibility of wearing pajamas and waking up five minutes before class started were also used quite a bit during the past 16 weeks.)

3. Virtual Office Hours

Virtual office hours were such a nice perk of going to school during a pandemic. I loved being able to log into a Zoom meeting and talk to my professors when they were available. Many of my professors definitely went the extra mile and were available to talk to students when they were at home. This was really nice because I could join the Zoom to ask them questions and even have some of my classmates join so we could talk to our professor together. Being able to hop on a Zoom call or scheduling a virtual office hour appointment for minutes after class instead of walking to campus was really helpful during this past semester.

4. Recorded Zoom Lectures

Studying this semester looked a little different for me. I took advantage of having each Zoom lecture recorded and available to re-watch before exams. After going through the material, I would go back and watch the Zoom lecture of the material I was having a harder time understanding. Being able to listen to my professor explain it again instead of relying on my notes helped me learn much better. It also took the stress of writing down every single thing professors said during class away so I could focus on actually paying attention and learning during class because I knew I could re-watch the lecture after class. I found this to be a great study tool!

Most people would quickly think of the negatives of going to graduate school during a global pandemic. However, these are just a few of the positives that I would remind myself of when I was discouraged about not having in-person classes. I hope this next semester looks more normal, but even if it doesn’t I will try to remember the silver linings and have fun along the way!

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