One of the most immediate yet difficult transitions was adapting to online learning.
Suddenly, instead of walking to class and sitting with friends in lecture halls, students across the globe found
themselves logging into Zoom calls and navigating communication through chat rooms and breakout sessions. Teachers and professors everywhere were desperately trying to recreate the stimulating experience of being in a classroom, and iXperience was no exception.
I enrolled in the Management Consulting course for Summer 2020 after it became
remote, but I know many of my peers were looking forward to their life changing summers
abroad in Cape Town or Lisbon. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from a class and internship completely online, but I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to have a productive summer and gain real, tangible skills despite being in quarantine. IX turned out to be everything I could have wanted and more.
Lauren Coppins - UVA
While it’s easy to get lost behind a screen and become distracted during remote lectures,
my Head Teacher and TA’s made every possible effort to make sure this program was as
engaging and interactive as possible. We were often placed in pairs or small groups through
breakout sessions to complete exercises and apply our learning, but this was also a great
opportunity to make meaningful connections and turn strangers into friends. Through the class and my internship, I formed very close relationships with students from dozens of universities as well as my own school, and we’re already making plans to meet in person once it’s safe to return to campus. By harnessing the power of remote learning during the pandemic, I was able to meet students hailing from Hawaii to England to Singapore, making isolation feel not quite so isolating anymore.
Not only did I gain some fantastic friends through this remote learning experience, but I
also gained some really advantageous industry skills. Remote work may become a new norm for many companies moving forward, and now after completing my online internship, I can speak to my experience and ability to navigate the remote workforce. I learned the importance of clear, effective communication while balancing Zoom calls, WhatsApp messages, and emails. Having an organized schedule of meetings and individual work time was critical in order to accomplish my tasks and to build in some much-needed personal time away from the screen. Additionally, I learned the importance of being patient and flexible, especially with overcoming technology issues and time difference barriers between New Jersey and Cape Town.
My biggest takeaway from remote learning through both my university and iXperience is
that you need to be able to speak up and advocate for yourself when you’re struggling. When you’re in a classroom setting, professors can read the room and pick up on visual cues to sense when students are having difficulty. It’s much easier to silently struggle behind the screen during remote learning, so it’s essential to develop self-awareness and take initiative when it’s time to ask for help. Virtual office hours may look slightly different than usual, but they can be extremely helpful if you take advantage of them. For many, including myself, the challenges of remote learning are just as much social as they are academic.
Making connections with your professors and your peers through a screen is much more difficult than in person, so my biggest tip for students in remote learning is to put yourself out there and engage with your teachers and classmates. Even though remote learning isn’t the ideal situation for most students, if you make the extra effort to build relationships and seek out help when you need it, it can be an incredibly