As we all work together to cope with our new way of life amid COVID-19, we learn to adapt and grow into more dynamic people, both personally and professionally. One of these adaptations includes the switch to remote learning, which has been a staple of dissatisfaction and difficulty with many students over the past few months, including myself. The ability to interact and physically learn in a hands-on environment is something I will never again take for granted or view in the same way. I’m here to share my recent college remote learning experience with you, and provide some tips to manage expectations and be prepared for a fully online curriculum.
Along with many of my peers, I was not at all ready to remove myself from my campus and revert to a Zoom-focused learning experience. This is due to the fact that for many of us, online teaching was just one new component of many that we would have to get used to. At my college, Cal State University Fullerton, I had to move back home mid semester, leave all career opportunities I had lined up, and find a way to pay for an apartment I was no longer living at. In addition to these changes, I had to mentally make peace with my new living, working, and educational circumstances, managing my own expectations for my altered future.
This of course was between being told mixed messages from my university, building up mislead hope for a fall school year that would never come to fruition. I remember heading back home in March thinking to myself “Don’t worry, you’ll only be gone for a week or two”. And now here we are, 8 months later from the start of the pandemic, and less than a month away from my December graduation date. While bittersweet, I have learned to accept the things that we cannot change, and to make the most of the things we can.
In this type of situation there are only a few things we can control: our attitude and our output. These two characteristics can make all the difference for your overall happiness and productivity, even during a global pandemic. In my case, I had to shift my attitude from disappointed to optimistic, and from daunted to opportunistic. I also had to learn how to be productive with my output, especially in a less active setting.
For me, this meant fine-tuning my resume, LinkedIn, and professional skill set to constantly seek job opportunities. This meant calling and messaging employer after employer, until I was blessed to land upon my current position of Marketing and Management Coordinator for Pediatric Therapy Associates. This also meant applying myself as much as I could in my online classes, asking questions when no one else would, and completing additional business certifications so that my knowledge could grow.
I continued building my network, and took every rejection as a chance to turn a weakness into a strength. I accepted the fact that it’s okay to change plans, and made the decision to pursue a new career path and graduate school in 2021. While establishing my new normal was and still is a challenge, I have come to appreciate my limits being pushed, as it’s taught me that my circumstances don’t define who I am or what I’m capable of.
In any situation, we all have the unlimited potential to master something new, whether it’s working from home with kids, adjusting to a remote class, or moving from one location to another. This can especially be seen in teletherapy, as therapists and clinicians work to navigate establishing a virtual connection with their patient, formerly being able to provide in-person treatment. Technology has been able to provide us with effective alternatives to creating a new working life. As long as we are able to take a step back and reassess our present, we will be able to have a successful future.