Covid-19 has just destroyed your senior year of high school, hasn’t it?  No Senior Skip Day, no Prom, weird online award ceremonies and graduations….  It’s a mess.  As the mother of a high school senior, I have mourned the loss of these events while I watch my student navigate the move to 100% online classes and interactions. 

First, your clothing choices

It occurs to me, however, that we can learn a lot from these strange times.  Those of you who are seniors should take a look at yourselves and your learning patterns in order to prepare for college.  Let’s start with the easiest parallel:  your clothing choices.  The good news is that as long as you’re appropriately covered, you can wear pajamas to your college classes just as you’ve been doing for your online classes.  As a former university instructor, I will tell you that YES!  Your professors are going to mentally judge you for that choice, but if it’s the difference between going to class or being absent, go ahead and show up with that bedhead and Scooby Do pajama pants.

Next, your class schedule

The second parallel is your class schedule.  As your high school classes shifted to online, you’re probably meeting only once or twice per week.  Guess what?  This is the way college classes are structured.  So, how have you responded to that change?  Have you kept a reasonably organized schedule, turned assignments in on time, and planned ahead for upcoming assignments before they got out of control?  Yes?  Congratulations!  You are going to do just fine in the less-structured atmosphere of college.  What?  You’ve put things off, gotten behind, stressed out, gotten more behind and more stressed?  Yeah, that’s what I have seen around my house too. 

Good news:  this is important information to know about yourself.  It lets you see what happens when you start putting off readings and assignments.  Little by little, you get more and more behind until it seems as though you can never catch up and you just give up.  While you’re a high school student, your mom or dad can check your grades online and throw a fit before the situation gets out of control.  (Not that this ever happened more times than I can count with my student.) 

At college, however, your mom or dad has to depend on you answering questions about assignments and test grades.  Don’t cover up your mistakes!  If you’re getting behind, be honest.  Yes, mom or dad will call and text you ALL THE TIME to check on things, but you know what?  You’ll do your assignments just to get them to stop, and you’ll end the semester with good grades and few worries.  Winning!

Finally, online classes

Finally, this period of Covid-19 online learning gives you a chance to try out online classes.  In high school, you were limited to traditional face-to-face classes at set times every day.  These are great, especially for those of us who need structure and frequent interaction. 

However, in college, you’ll have more opportunities to take online classes.  So again, look at your experience now and determine whether online learning is a good fit for you.  If you’re one of the organized, responsible students who have thrived during this period of online learning, fantastic!  You know you’re capable of keeping up, managing your time well, and making the most of the freedoms online learning allows.  You won’t need to be nervous about enrolling in an online college class.  They can be quite useful if your college doesn’t offer a course you need during the semester you’d like to take it.  Take it with another school and transfer the credit toward your degree.  If you’ve felt adrift during this time of online learning, you’ll know that in the future, you probably won’t enjoy an online class as much as one with face-to-face meetings, and you can plan your schedule accordingly.  Knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a learner will help you achieve success. 

As we all move forward during and after this pandemic, we can use the self-knowledge gained to improve our lives in a variety of ways.  For sure, we have all learned to wash our hands for much longer than we thought necessary, but we can also make informed choices that make us better students.  College is your next big challenge, so use every tool at your disposal to plan for academic success!

UMHB is the university of choice for Christian higher education in the Southwest. If you are looking for a place to receive an education for life and an experience of a lifetime, UMHB would be a great fit for you! Check out our website for more information, or stop by any time for a campus visit to learn more!