There’s a lot to be excited about as we return to an in-person semester. Having never been to Berkeley before, I am personally looking forward to exploring the campus. However, as much as I’m waiting to finally have a “normal” college experience, I did find a few unexpected upsides to the remote semester. Here are four things I will miss about online learning!
Waking up five minutes before the class starts
I’m an international student and for the last year, I was taking classes in a time zone 12 1/2 hours ahead of California. So, the only times of the day when I could attend live classes were early mornings and late nights. Since I thought waking up early would be less of an ordeal than staying up at night, I ended up having quite a few 7 a.m. classes in my schedule. All I had to do to attend these classes was open my laptop and log in to Zoom, so I could just wake up five minutes before the class starts.
Watching lectures at 2x speed
I watched pretty much every lecture for the classes I took asynchronously at twice the speed. While I typically find myself getting easily distracted in live sessions, watching lectures at a higher speed somehow helped me focus better — especially when they were covering material I wasn’t particularly interested in. It also helped me save a significant amount of time, allowing me to get through four to five lectures a day without losing out on comprehension. More generally, I liked being able to rewind videos whenever I didn’t understand something the instructor said and pause them any time I wanted to take a break.
No pressure to dress up
There’s a lot to be said about the convenience of working or studying remotely; one aspect is being able to dress however you want. Barring interviews and any other online events that required you to follow a dress code, there was no pressure to dress a certain way when attending meetings or classes. This was especially true for meetings where you didn’t even have your camera on. Apart from the fact that I could study or work more comfortably, the lack of pressure to dress up also made me feel less anxious in social situations.
Access to homemade food
It was nice to have food within just a few feet from where I was studying as I could grab a quick snack during meetings and study breaks. It was also much easier to whip up a home-cooked meal (plus, with all the time I saved on commuting, I also had more time to cook). While there are a lot of cafes and snack spots both on and near the UC Berkeley campus, regularly relying on them for snacks may not be the best thing for your health or wallet. Being able to have homemade food whenever I want is definitely a luxury I’ll miss when we return to in-person classes.
Some students have thrived in the online format while others want nothing more than to be able to take classes on campus. Wherever you are on this spectrum, it’s worth considering what you will miss about remote learning!