Transitioning to online learning and how it has benefited me

The impact of the pandemic on student life has had unimaginable effects — who would have thought that the university campus, what once was a bustling, vibrant area where students thrived, would transition into a deserted, almost apocalyptic zone over the course of several weeks? With the national lockdown starting in mid-March 2020, us students were forced to abandon our university routines and adapt to the “new-normal” of online learning and socially distanced study.

The University of Manchester Campus. Image from Future Learn.

It’s not all so bad…

My first-year experience was cut short and I was so disappointed to have left Manchester so prematurely, however I was thankful to be able to come back for second year. It wasn’t exactly what I had expected it to be — all my learning was online and social restrictions meant that I couldn’t see my course friends. However, these strange, new ways of learning didn’t just come with disappointment and problems — there were and are many advantages to this format of learning and in some ways, I have found that I actually prefer it.

I have found that not going into university has saved me time and money which I would have spent getting the bus and paying for a travel pass, and so, I now have more time in my day to complete other tasks such as exercising, cooking or even just chill time. My schedule hasn’t been disrupted by online learning and I aim to complete my pre-recorded lectures in the designated timetabled slot and attend the synchronous (live) Zooms and workshops that are compulsory. I have found that exercising in the morning makes me feel energised and gives me good structure to my days, meaning that I feel productive.

A week in my planner — colour coded of course!

Don’t get me wrong, I have really missed seeing my friends on campus during and between lectures and seminars, but I feel as though I have adapted fairly well to online learning. I think that lecture content is very similar online as it is in person and I have found that online exams work better for me, and so, I would not mind if online learning continues in the future. However, I have found that it is the live seminars where we get put into breakout rooms rather than face-to-face groups that feel different and not so engaging. Apart from this, I think that online learning works beneficially for me, although it really depends on the person and what their preferred learning style is.

So, what does the future hold for online learning?

As restrictions ease and the university campus begins to open gradually, I have had the pleasure of seeing more students out and about around campus. I think that online learning will continue for the rest of the academic year, and will even still be accessible for next year, however, with pubs opening up, the social side of my university experience will hopefully be hindered no more.

Drinking with friends. Image from Shutterstock.



21-Year-Old Psychology student studying @ The University of Manchester.

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21-Year-Old Psychology student studying @ The University of Manchester.