With a lot of uncertainty around whether or not universities will open this Fall because of the pandemic, schools are at a crossroads as to whether they allow students back on campus, or they take the classes completely online, or a hybrid of the two. In this article, I’ll give you my thoughts on universities opening up again and three tips for you to make the most of your university experience IF it’s going to be all online.
The state of higher education in 2020
So 2020 has been a challenging year to say the least, and universities and students have been impacted in a big way. Universities need to find a way to continue operating in a way that minimizes health risks for faculty and students alike, while delivering a quality education.
How do you do that? Well, online learning is a viable option. I might not have said the same 20 years ago, but given how far technology has come along in video conferencing and internet access, and internet speed, it’s certainly feasible.
Take it from someone who is currently pursuing their MBA online – I’m happy to report, you can have a great experience even in online learning.
**So if you’re starting at a university in the Fall semester, and your classes are partly or fully online, here are three things you should do to make the most of it.
3 Tips to Make the MOST Out of Your Online University Experience
- Get active on social media.
If you are already, great! If not, get more involved. Hopefully the school admin creates a platform where students can meet virtually and network. For example, my university uses Workplace, which is an offshoot of Facebook, which allows for organizations, it can be companies or universities, to create their own large group where you register with your school email (coincidentally, just like how Facebook was originally started) to be a part of it. And there’s just a ton of activity there where subgroups are then created for different classes and even other common interests where students can connect.If it’s a group that has been created by the university, be responsible on social media and on the platform they provide. It goes without saying, be respectful and courteous of everyone there, and be aware of the brand your presenting to others.Alternatively, if for some reason the school itself doesn’t create a group to foster that connection, one might’ve been created by another student on Facebook or another platform, so be on the lookout. And if you’re still coming up short, create the group yourself!
In terms of networking, this will likely be one of the only ways to do it if you’re not able to be on campus or in class. Eventually when everyone is able to meet up in person, having networked, even virtually, you’ll have already broken the ice and meeting in person will be like visiting with an old friend.
- Get organized!
Doing classes and course work online will require better time management since you’re on your own for the most part as far as getting yourself online and in a live class session. You’ll want to make sure that, like in regular classes, you come prepared, which means you do the readings in advance, you do coursework in advance where possible, so that you get the most out of the live session.I think there’s a tendency when it comes to online coursework that because you feel like you have much more free time without the need to commute to class and physically be somewhere else, you may relax a little bit too much, so it’s important to stick to a schedule and be disciplined about it. Get a planner, or make sure to stay active with any calendar app that you might have to dedicate time to live class sessions, studying, and of course, watching all my videos on my YouTube channel and hitting the like button down below.
- Find a side hustle!
This is moreso if you’re going to school full-time, but think about it, you do have more free time now since you’re not commuting to class. You also might not be as social nowadays, that might be more limited, and you might not be on campus, so many of the elements of university life are just not there in the same way as before, which frees you up.There’s no better time than now to explore a side hustle! In the description below, I’ve got links to a few books by Chris Guillebeau that I really enjoyed that can help give you some fantastic ideas on potential side hustles and the book talks about a bunch of different stories from different people and what they’re doing to generate an income. Highly recommend it, check it out.
Bottom line here though is find out what you enjoy, what you’re good at, and what people might pay you for, and do that! A side hustle will net you money that you can use towards student loans and depending on the type of work, will give you some valuable work experience that you can talk about in future interviews. Lastly, depending on the success of that side hustle, you may end up having more options than you thought after school, which includes pursuing that opportunity.
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