Redefining the College Experience, Virtually

The pandemic has brought many changes we were not prepared for, with it, a new perspective on the ‘college experience.’

Photo Credit to Anna Shvets

A year ago, I wouldn’t have believed anyone who told me that I’d be doing my college courses virtually. After all, I had my prospects set on having a traditional college experience. Living in a stuffy old dorm room and barely surviving on a meal plan seemed to be the ‘rites of passage’ for an 18-year-old high school grad.

I mean, that’s the narrative we’ve been told all throughout our childhood. And anyone who dares to resist the traditional college route … well, they’re the minority.

Yet, with the onset of the pandemic, students all around the globe have been forced to reimagine what the college experience means for them.

For many college students, remote learning has become a den of despair, putting their dreams of the ideal college experience on the back burner (perhaps, indefinitely?). However, what if we could redefine the college experience around the resources that we do have available?

Photo Credit to Mika Baumeister. Hundreds of colleges are rebuilding their college campus on Minecraft. What are you waiting for?

Millions of college students in the US have found intricate ways to maintain their social lives intact. From building interactive college campuses virtually on Minecraft to celebrating social gatherings through video calls — the opportunities to reinvent the college experience are limitless.

Here are a bunch of other creative ways college students are amplifying their college experience during the shift to online learning:

Reviving the Social Aspect of Campus

  • Are you missing out on your weekly squirrel-watching club meetings?
    Hold your club meetings via Zoom! Watch your favorite squirrel YouTube clips together or go outside for some IRL squirrel time.
  • Game nights can often become a tradition for college students.
    Keep your head in the game and host game nights online (for instance, virtual escape rooms, Jeopardy, Heads Up!, trivia games).
  • In-person concerts and festivities may be on hold at the moment, but have no fear!
    Go wild from the comfort of your own home by joining live-stream concerts.
  • Staying home doesn’t mean you have to skimp on your exercise regimen.
    Participate in virtual exercise classes to stay in shape!
  • College hangouts often consist of watching endless episodes of Netflix with your pals.
    Well, why not continue this tradition? Stream your favorite shows together with Teleparty.
  • Does faith play an important part in your life?
    If so, join the millions of people who attend religious services virtually.
Photo Credits to Tima Miroshnichenko, Kai Shea, NeONBRAND, & Josh Applegate. Virtually, we have access to a wide variety of activities from streaming concerts, participating in exercise classes, to hosting Zoom parties, and live streaming religious services.

Maintaining the Academic Ambiance of Campus Life

  • Flashbacks of late-night library study sessions keeping you up at night? No problem!
    Hold virtual study sessions using Discord, Zoom, Google Suite, and Dropbox.
  • Ever miss the ability to have your friend around to help you with that stressful homework assignment?
    Use social media and Discord to stay connected and get help from your peers.

Secure the Guidance and Support you Need

Photo Credit to Camilo Jimenez. Technology makes connecting with others easy, no matter where we are.

As you can see, there are countless opportunities for college students to maintain a healthy social life, gain and sustain connections, and mimic the IRL college experience. While these virtual options to stay in touch with one another have been deemed inferior to physical contact, it has never been a better time to discover and grow our very understanding of what human connection is and how it can be fulfilled.

After all, data from the Pew Research Center shows that an astounding 48% of young adults, ages 18 to 29, are online almost constantly, whether that be streaming videos, checking social media, gaming, or doing homework.

Clearly, as college students, we are well accustomed to spending the majority of our daily lives utilizing technology. Therefore, using technology to remake our college experience virtually should not come as a hassle to us, technologically savvy individuals. With a small shift in perspective, we can recreate the elements of the college experience and start reaping the possibilities that abound.

References

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Ewelina Adamczak

Ewelina Adamczak

Helping others help themselves. Living life by the moment. Passionate about design, spirituality, psychology, writing, and all things deep.