Hi, I’m a second-year student who has spent one year studying in Edinburgh and my whole second year studying online from home. The last year has definitely been challenging for everyone, especially university students. There has been a steep learning curve with studying online, but might we miss it when we eventually go back to campus? In this post, I’ll be exploring the advantages and disadvantages of online learning, what I’m looking forward to when returning to campus and the things I might miss when finally leaving Zoom University.
Ané’s Guide to the Pros and Cons of Studying Online
1. Anytime, anywhere
I can definitely attest to this one! The option to be back home, in Namibia, and still being able to “go” to university has really been a blessing. It’s allowed me to spend time with my family, arrange my schedule around other plans and study at my favourite café. I have really enjoyed the freedom and flexibility that has come with online learning.
2. Studying at your own pace
Sometimes everything just gets thrown at you all at once. Luckily with online learning, you can work at your own pace. If today isn’t your day and you need a break, you can take one. There will always be tomorrow and the work will still be there, waiting for you.
3. Teaches better time management and planning
This year has thrown us all in at the deep end, but it has really helped me get better at managing my time. Sink or swim. Plan ahead or suffer the consequences. I am a master procrastinator and I have definitely improved my time management skills because of online learning and not having scheduled classes. I have also discovered some new apps that have really helped me cope with online studying – check them out here.
4. Help is more accessible online
You can ask questions any time of the day. Discussion boards are at your disposal and students and staff are connected and available most of the time. This has made getting answers so quick and easy.
1. More Screentime
Spending seemingly endless hours in front of a screen takes it’s toll. With studying online you don’t have much of a choice in the matter. Too much screen time can lead to dry eyes, headaches, poor quality sleep etc. Luckily there are many different ways of combatting the effects of screen time, for example taking regular breaks to get away from your phone or laptop, going outside for a brisk walk and using a blue light filter ( for more information on useful apps check out 6 Blue Light Filter Applications to Reduce Digital Eye Strain
2. Too Many Distractions
Working from home comes with the distractions of home. Whether it’s your family being noisy, your pet looking to play or your neighbour’s new building project there will always be something to break your concentration.
Calls with friends, facetime and Zoom parties just don’t cut it! I’ve missed lounging around on campus with friends between classes, meeting up in the library and the antics in lectures. The social aspect of university is an integral part of the student experience and studying online has made it really hard to connect with classmate and friends. Studying with friends is a great motivator that has been sorely missed this year.
Even though we have been connected and online so much this year, I’ve found that I’ve been disconnected with the world and people around me. Sometimes I would not see the outside of my house for four days. Sometimes you get so caught up on all the work and with studying online it’s harder to get away from. On campus I would have walked between classes at least to get some fresh air, but now that’s a thing of the past. After a full day of work I often don’t have the energy to spend time with my family and I end up just lounging around or going to bed. I’ve definitely improved managing everything now, but it has been a big challenge.
The Verdict: Studying Online vs On Campus
Although studying online has had it’s benefits I truly can’t wait to get back to campus. I am sure almost all university students and staff will probably agree with me. The bad of online learning unfortunately outweights the good, but I have really appreciated being able to arrange my schedule to fit my plans. I am also so grateful that it alowed me to be with my family throughout the pandemic.
Returning to campus in the future (fingers crossed that it’s soon) I am most excited to spend time with friends and to be back in the wonderful city of Edinburgh again. The hardest thing this year has been missing the people and the city because that really makes all the hard work of university more enjoyable.
I hope we can all make the best of studying online until we can all meet up safely on campus again.
Feel free to share your experience with studying online in the comments.
Till next time!
Stay happy and stay healthy.