2020, Was It Really All That Bad?
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2020, Was It Really All That Bad?

2020 had its scary moments that some would want to leave in the past. Others, however, may have gained something valuable.

Let’s be honest, pivoting from the traditional ways we teach and learn wasn’t always easy. I was a junior in college, terrified about how I would manage my workload when COVID-19 shut down my university and forced us into an online world.

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The courses that I signed up for in person quickly changed into phone calls and video chats over Zoom. No more coffee dates in-between classes with friends. No more all-nighters in the library. It was just me, my room, and my laptop. While it felt like I kept losing the things I loved, I was in fact still gaining more than I could have if I were still in my typical in-person day-to-day life.

You are probably reading this right now and wondering what I could have gained in such a crazy time. How could I find the light in something so dark and terrifying?

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Just like many of you, I had to learn to adjust to the changing world around me. It was scary and I wasn’t sure how I would navigate an online world of school. Despite my worry, I knew I had to make something out of this experience. The resources seemed endless online. I knew I had to be quick and capitalize on it all where I could. I became more serious about engaging in class. I made it a habit to stay on a routine and focus on my tasks in a set schedule. I looked for learning resources outside of my classroom. I prioritized meeting with my professors outside of normal class hours online to discuss questions or ideas that I had. I wanted to make sure everything I consumed was as effective to me as possible.

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Everything I did was strategized for effective learning. I learned self-discipline and how to self-motivate. In my work today, I utilize the skills I learned during the pandemic to maximize the quality of work I produce each day.

With schools open and running in person again now, the pandemic sometimes feels like a distant memory. What we learned during the pandemic, however, should not. Teachers now have a better understanding of the importance of digital technologies, and that digital skills are an essential element of their toolkit. Students have figured out how to consume content in ways that is most effective to them.

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It’s easy to want to leave the pandemic and what came with it in the past, but if you truly benefitted from the responsibility of navigating a digital world, don’t stop now.

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