Online school habits to unlearn

Owen Peterson, Opinion Editor

Owen Peterson / Advance-Titan
With so much time spent doing online learning, students will have picked up many habits, some better than others. Among the ones that may be missed: being able to get out of anything by blaming it on technology.

After dealing with the brain-numbing purgatory touted as online “learning” for over a year, students were probably upset to learn that some effort is once again required to pass their classes.

While it is nice that campus is no longer a barren wasteland and that half of a student’s day won’t be spent staring at the Canvas interface, there are some things that will surely be missed about the way college was during the last two and a half semesters.

Aspects such as not having to leave your room, open-note exams (whether they were meant to be that way or not) and the power to make your lectures go 1.5x faster than intended all made it more bearable, but now that classes are back to normal it is time to unlearn some of the habits that may have been developed during online instruction.

The biggest change that students will have to get used to is the exams. As sad as it may be, the days of not having to break a sweat over a Canvas quiz are now gone in favor of late, caffeine-fueled nights at Polk Library.

Not only will more effort have to be put into preparing for these exams (because, unfortunately, there is no such thing as opening another tab during an in-person exam), but students will have to readapt to the stress that is inherent when being locked in a room to take a test with nothing but a pencil, a scantron and the hope that there are no questions on those three chapters you skipped.

It’s too early to tell what impact this might have, but I wouldn’t be surprised if more than a few will be suffering from a “Quizlet hangover” of sorts. Quizlet will remain prominent in student life, though, as it now claims to host 60 million users a month (up 10 million from
the 2018 numbers) and only looks to keep growing.

Just as minds will likely be sore from having to actually retain information again, legs will feel the same once they are forced to remember the agony that is four flights of Sage Hall stairs at 8 a.m.

While, yes, there is an elevator, the point remains that even leaving bed for lectures will be a change of pace for some.

Online classes provided an opportunity for previously unthinkable levels of comfort while listening to lectures; allowing you to wear (or not wear) whatever you wanted to, control the temperature of the room and sit in a comfortable position for once, so returning sitting on stiff chairs for hours at a time is a very unwelcome change.

I know this transition back will be hard, so I encourage you to do all you can to make morning classes as enjoyable as they can be (which isn’t a whole lot, admittedly), but please, for legal and ethical reasons, remember that pants must be worn during lectures again.

Finally, there are some smaller features of online learning, especially regarding lectures, that I know I will personally miss.

First, I would like to hold a brief moment of silence for the “my mic isn’t working today” excuse, which truly left us too soon. Gone, but not forgotten.

The sheer amount of ways to dodge social interactions in an online setting was pure bliss, and not being able to avoid these situations by simply walking away from the laptop and pretending nothing was even happening will be tough.

Tragically, there is also no longer a way out of answering a question when called upon, so you better remember to actually pay attention again, which, to be fair, will probably be easier considering you can also no longer get away with scrolling through social media for the entirety of the class.

This will be especially missed when having to do group work in class, which will be a lot more draining, considering there is no option to just type in the chat instead of having to actually speak to another human like in Collaborate Ultra breakout groups. At least we can all find solace in the fact that those wretched breakout groups are now in their rightful place in the depths of hell.

In all seriousness, it feels great to be back in a learning environment that is not only more conducive to its purpose, but also so much more enjoyable, and I hope others hold a similar sentiment, especially now knowing what college is like without it.