90 Days of Summer

I had my summer planned out since the beginning of the year. I knew I’d be living in residence at UVic, and that I’d be taking 3 courses, but never in my wildest dreams I thought I’d be doing all those courses online.

You know how it is; sometimes the most unexpected things happened and the expected things don’t. So, this past summer term became my first ever experience with a complete online semester, and I thought I’d tell you a bit about it.

I was living on campus when classes first turned online back in late March (wow! almost 6 months!!), but I figured it wouldn’t be the most logical decision for me to go home.

You see, my home is literally on the other side of the planet (Iran), and there was, and still is, a lot of uncertainty around travel restrictions and safety concerns, and, well, not exactly the best idea to travel that far during a pandemic.

Besides, I actually preferred to at least be physically on campus now that I couldn’t have my classes in person. So I ended up living in the South Tower Building for the rest of the semester, and that my friends, is how I met a very “deer” friend. He passed by my window almost every day, real nice guy. We didn’t really have any interactions, cause you know, social distancing and all, except for this one, very brief time:

 

Animals were around a lot more often!

The first couple weeks of quarantine and social distancing were quite strange. Seeing not a single soul, or only a few, around places I had always seen flooded with people was definitely one of those pinch-me moments (it still kind of is to be honest). But in a way, it was also fascinating to see the campus so quiet and peaceful. I don’t think this place is ever going to be as empty and quiet as then, or maybe it will, who knows.

A couple photos I captured of our beautiful, quiet campus

So there came May, and with it, the start of my classes.

  • Was it easy to adjust to the online format? Oh yes, very easy indeed. Took me only a day to figure it all out.
  • Were the tests easier because they were all open book? Absolutely.
  • Did I just give complete incorrect answers to these questions in an attempt to be sarcastic? Yep, I did. Reality looked quite different.

I started the summer semester thinking the fact that my classes are now online isn’t be a big deal, and that it’s not really going to make a difference. It took me one or two lower-than-expected test scores to realize I was wrong.

This may not be true for all courses, but in my case (I was taking computer science courses), I found the tests to be a bit different from what I was used to, which could’ve been for a couple of reasons: typing up answers instead of writing them down, taking second-year courses for the first time (which, naturally, is harder than first year I guess), and I’d also say the general format of the questions because your instructors have to consider the fact that you have access to the internet and the course material while taking the test, which makes it challenging on their side to create the tests as well.

Source: Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

So, I’ve come to think of it as a trial and error situation. This is probably new to many of you as well as to some of your instructors, and I think what we’re all trying to do is to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

The way to figure that out, unsurprisingly, is to experiment and learn as we go forward, whether that’s a study method, how you answer test questions, etc.

And that brings us to what I want to leave you with: if your first few assignment or quizzes or whatever it is don’t go quite the way you were hoping even though you know you’ve understood the material well, try not to get too caught up on it, because on the bright side, you now know what doesn’t work and have a clearer idea of what to expect next time.

Couple that with talking to your classmates and professors about the course, keeping up with the material, making time for fun activities, and I think you’ll get hang of it quit quickly.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, that’s that human beings are great at adaptation. We’ve come a long way adapting to so many things throughout history as a whole as well as in our personal lives, and we can adapt to this too.

Before I go, I want to say a big welcome to you if you’re new to UVic, and a big welcome back if you’re returning😊 Wish you all a great semester, you got this!

PS: I’m sure many of you have already guessed it, the title is inspired by 500 Days of Summer 🙂

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