Entrance into a Digital World

In March of 2020, when seemingly the whole world was told to stay home for the first time, we all started to adjust to this new reality that was cast upon us. Socializing looked different, routines changed drastically, and for a 21-year-old college student, school was turned on its head. Before the pandemic, I attended 12 class sessions in-person every week, taking more than 10,000 steps per day. In a matter of just one week, I started taking every single one of those classes behind my computer screen. Some classes held synchronous live sessions over Zoom and others pre-recorded class content for students to view at their own pace. No matter what style the classes took, one aspect remained the same throughout all of my classes — they were clunky.

It was an enormous adjustment to go through. Participation from students in class plummeted as we all tried to understand how to work in an online setting. Professors struggled to get through class content as technological issues arose. Even something as simple as taking notes started to look different with class content being packaged in new ways. While the collective struggle we all faced provided some sense of solace, school just didn’t quite feel like school anymore.

It took several months for students and professors alike to learn how to operate in the new environment we were in. To this day I’m still learning how to operate in an online space as effectively as I do in person. While the adjustment to the new world we were thrust into proved to be awkward, it provided a learning opportunity that I’ve taken for granted. The communication skills and the flexibility required to operate in an online space are invaluable, especially as we continue to move the work world online. According to Digital Intheround, video meetings increase productivity by 50% and 87% of people feel more connected to each other using video calls instead of traditional audio-only conference calls.

As far as I can tell, platforms like Zoom are here to stay. And while the transition into the digital world proved to be difficult, it has prepared me for a life in the digital world. Would I have rather been on-campus learning next to my peers? Of course, I would have. That isn’t to say that there wasn’t a tremendous benefit that came from the infamous “Zoom University” that so many college students around the country have endured in the past couple of years.

It wasn’t easy moving my world online, but it has prepared me for the increasingly digital world I find myself heading towards.

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Griff Spratley

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