My first university lecture was far from expected, mostly because it was an online recording. Before starting Uni I had imagined sitting in a lecture theatre with hundreds of other students, actively note-taking with a Starbucks latte in front of me. That’s how I imagined student life on campus to be all of the time. Until the pandemic hit and forced me into online learning! You can only imagine how disheartened I was going to my first lecture and realising that I wouldn’t even be leaving my house.
For the whole of first year I had to constantly adapt to new ways of learning. It was difficult and definitely kept me on my toes. Online lectures were often not uploaded on time. That left me worrying whether I would get all my work done in time for the seminar. This, alongside the fact that I was staring at my screen listening to my lecturer talk at me without any other students to share the excitement (or pain) with was frustrating and isolating.
I craved for lectures to be back on campus so they could live up to my expectations. My uni experience did not feel real until I set foot onto campus and started studying.
A change of stance
Fast forward a year (I’ve had my fair share of lectures now) and I personally (and surprisingly) prefer online lectures. The atmosphere of in-person lectures makes me feel like the stereotypical student I envisaged when starting university and definitely helps my mindset and motivation. But I do prefer the flexibility online recorded lectures provide me with. Anything to avoid travelling onto campus at 8am!
Thankfully, my university records all in-person lectures and makes them available to us online for those who could not attend. This allows me to retain full flexibility over when I watch the lectures. That is a bonus for commuter students, as it means I don’t have to travel onto campus at an awkward time. It also gives me the benefit of pausing and watching lectures at my own pace. That way I can ensure that I’m not missing information when note-taking.
Pros and cons
Both online and in-person lectures have their benefits and I enjoy both for different reasons. If I’m feeling particularly distracted when studying at home I’ll usually change my routine and attend on campus lectures to keep me ‘in the zone.’ However, if I don’t quite understand a topic or have a very busy day, I’ll revert to the online format, allowing me to absorb and understand information at my own pace.
While my first time in a lecture didn’t live up to my hopes and dreams, I have grown to love lectures. They are very useful in providing background information for the module; not to mention being interesting. My advice for anybody who has yet to experience a lecture would be to enjoy it and try to engage with the topic as much as possible so that you get the most out of the information given and that, if nothing else, the time doesn’t drag.