Starting University Online
Starting university online was definitely a challenge, especially as a first-year student. People always talk about their experiences in their first-year and mention how life-changing it was. However, I was one of the many students who were struck with a roadblock in their plans. We had to undergo online school for the first-year of our undergraduate degree, which is something that none of us ever considered. Although there were many challenges, online school also came with many blessings, such as being able to roll out of bed straight into lectures (or attend them in bed) and procrastinating an assignment till the second it was due.
Despite the perks that came with online school, a huge experience that I missed out on was being able to meet and mingle with other individuals. I remember starting a psychology class in my first semester and having to complete every assignment and lecture in solitude. It was draining to be staring at my computer screen alone, in the dark, at 11:06 pm, working on completing an assignment before the due date. No study sessions, no conversations with friends, just me and my psychology assignment. This was very difficult for me, as I am someone who enjoys connecting with others because it keeps me energized and allows me to do my best in everything that I work on. Reflectively, my grades were not the best in my first semester.
Although my mental health and grades suffered, there were many opportunities I partook in. For one, I joined several different clubs. I got to work with the Criminology Student Association, the First Nations Student Association, the Peer Mentorship Program in FASS, SFU350, the Wrongful Convictions Day Committee, and the Wrongful Convictions Day Collective. This may seem like a lot for some, but as someone who enjoys socialization, this was everything I needed to turn my first-year around. The connections I made through these opportunities are something I will cherish for a lifetime.
As we return to in-person classes, it is important for us to build upon the connections we missed out on over the past year. For extroverts like myself, socialization is something that keeps us motivated to do our best, similar to our lifeline! Whether it is joining clubs, planning studying sessions, or reaching out to faculty/staff, there is something we will all need to engage in when we go back to in-person learning. I hope this year of online school has taught us all about the things we cherish in life, as I know it definitely has for myself