The Academic Year 2020

Written by Haneen Gamal
Edited by Malak Manie

It’s a unique number that etched the totally novel events in our memories, imposing its circumstances on all our lives and daily routines. 2020 is definitely not the perfect year to try out a new experience or start something up. The circumstances which all of us, around the globe, are going through spread out fear and stress towards our health and our beloved ones’ health. However, on another shiny, full of hope and optimistic perspective, life is still going. We still go here and there even with some restrictions and precautions. The new academic year has started, different and unique in comparison to the past years.

During the past semester, students, all over the world, were capable of breaking through barriers by the aid of modern techniques and technology. For instance, students at different stages had a golden opportunity this year to learn how to carry out an original academic research, which was usually not required on the undergraduate level. In addition, those involved in the learning system were obliged to get familiar with online meeting applications, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Those measures are definitely additional positive points to the academic system as a whole. Social distancing between both the instructor and the student triggered communication skills improvement; both parties try their hardest to either send or receive information. Consequently, if not for those circumstances, we would not have gained these experiences.

By reflecting on the Fall 2020 semester at our college, the Faculty of Engineering at Ain Shams University, we find that it has not been easy to adapt to the new online system. However, the whole community, from the administration to us as students, is keen on making it better. There is no doubt that learning on campus has its joy and it could be more beneficial in many cases. From student’s viewpoint, life from home is extremely stable, as we spend over 60% of the time in the same place and doing almost the same activities. However, the dilemma is serious, when it comes to health and education: neither of them should tip the balance.

All in all, the current situation is an emergency, and we should all try to get the best out of it. Consequently, here are some tips that might be useful:

1. Treat an online course as if it is a “real” course

Online lectures are never less important than lectures on campus, so make sure to sit comfortably and try to take notes.

2. Practice time management

The flexibility to create your own schedule is often one of the biggest appeals for taking online classes. But that freedom can also be detrimental if you do not have solid time management skills.

3. Create a regular study space and stay organized

Set up a dedicated learning environment for studying. By completing your work there repeatedly, you will begin to establish a routine. Whether your workspace is your kitchen table, a library, or the corner booth in a local coffee shop, it is important to determine what type of environment will work best for you. Also, make sure that your studying space contains:

  • High-speed internet connection
  • The required books, materials, and software for the course
  • Headphones for listening to lectures or discussions (especially important in shared spaces)

 4. Eliminate distractions

From Netflix, to social media, to checking the fridge, you will be faced with many distractions that can easily derail your studies. The best online students know how to lessen these distractions and set aside time to focus.

 Finally, NEVER forget that practice makes perfect. Online classes are an excellent option to help you earn the degree you need to fulfil your goals. Though they come with their own unique challenges, following the advice above can help you be successful even in the most chaotic of times.

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