Now that I’ve spent a comfortable amount of time flailing around in zoom university, I can definitely say that connecting with your fellow peers and professors is hard when it is done through an exclusively online context. So luckily for any of you who have started the semester online or are nervous about starting an online semester at USC, I’ve compiled a couple of tips/realizations that I have had that have made navigating an school online a ton easier.
- Engagement: Professors, believe or not, are also human beings with feelings and energy levels. During in person classes, I didn’t realize how far the occasional shake of my head and some steady eye contact went in helping professors keep their energy levels up during long lecture periods. Thus, I think it is so helpful when you try to earnestly engage with your professor during their lectures. From their perspective, lecturing online can feel just like talking at your computer screen for an hour and half (or longer). So asking/answering clarifying questions can go a long way to making sure your professors don’t feel lonely, giving you a more lively lecture, and keeping you on track and off of Tik Tok.
- Working Hours: Because all business is typically conducted online now, I feel like there is this assumption that everyone is always online all the time. And for someone who likes answering emails or messages the moment they come in, it can feel a lot like you are never leave your keyboard and it can be overwhelming. Give yourself some structure by setting some working hours for yourself and committing to time away from the screen and holding yourself firm to that.
- Peers & Profs: For obvious reasons, 1:1 time during on zoom meetings has become a pretty paramount part of getting acquainted with your fellow peers and profs. Which is precisely why you now must be proactive in finding these opportunities to chat 1:1! Go to that club meeting you’ve never been to before even if it’s their fourth meeting of the semester. Go to those office hours even if you think you made a fool of yourself because you left your mic unmuted for like 2 minutes during class. It goes such a long way into making you another living, breathing person in the eyes of someone who only typically sees your Zoom anime icon.
And I think that about covers it! Obviously, there’s a lot more nuance to these points that I could use a 7-page paper fleshing out but hoping that nuance will reveal itself the more you embrace the aforementioned tips and tricks. Stay happy, stay healthy, and of course, cheers from me and my cat!