How to Not Fail Zoom University

From someone who has failed Zoom University

In breaking news, all classes at UCSC will be moving to an online format until January 31st, and listen, I’m not happy about it. I could say more as to why I’m not too keen on this, but I’ll leave it at this: online classes suck. So much so that over the Summer of 2021, I had decided that I would be opting to take a gap-year if courses were going online for the academic year. I’ve passed a few, and… failed a few, and when I found out we’d be going back to my own personal hell (the drama), I did some reflecting on what may have helped and what may have hurt when it came to the dreaded online course. It’s smart to learn from your own experiences, but it’s wise to learn from the experiences of others. So without further ado, here are a few tips on how not to fail Zoom University, from someone who’s failed Zoom University.

  1. Keep the camera on during synchronous meetings.

Listen, controversial, I know. If you’re anything like me, and a speck on the ceiling is enough to distract you for the next hour, keeping the camera on is almost a sure-fire way to make sure you’re at least kind of paying attention. And listen, I don’t look any better than the next person using a fuzzy Mac camera, but that brings me to my next tip…

  1. Get ready for online classes the way you would for in-person classes.

For me personally, that’s a full beat and a blow-out with sweats and my favorite WWE t-shirt. Shh, it’s called personal style. The same way corporate professionals get more done in their silly little slacks and their silly little button-downs, I find that I’m way more in the zone and ready to learn when I’ve tamed my bangs and perfected my eyeliner. Bonus: you’ll feel more willing to turn on your camera! Full circle, baby.

  1. Stop attending lectures and studying from your bed.

I’m horrible about this. In fact, I did this just hours ago, but do as I say, not as I do. Not only is this horrible for your posture (dude, it messed up my neck so bad), but you’ll find yourself experiencing the horrible combination of getting a little too comfy, and associating your bed with homework. Who wants to resent their bed? I absolutely do not.

  1. Find a routine.

Gosh, this is sounding like one of those beginning-of-the-pandemic articles isn’t it? I apologize, but here we are. Finding a routine has been one of the most helpful things for me when it comes to online classes. For me, this means mapping out my studying so that I can (1) avoid it on the weekends, and (2) wrap it up by 6 p.m. Of course, there are days where I have to be flexible, but aiming for these scheduled times where I can turn my brain off makes brain-on times so much more bearable.

Listen, if I’m being totally honest, the recent news feels like the beginning of the worst case scenario for me, and I know I’m not alone in that. While you implement little tips and tricks to make the situation a little easier, it’s important to know that you’re allowed to be angry. I sure am… like red in the face, tears in the eyes angry, and it’s easy for the anger towards what we can’t control to turn into apathy for the things we can. The only way we can avoid this is to take it day-by-day, and oftentimes for me, hour-by-hour. Good luck to you, I hope all your hopes and dreams come true, and I can’t wait to see some IRL faces on January 31st!

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