Learning to Learn Remotely
SAIT student Kajol shares tips on connecting remotely as an international student.
By Kajol Bhatia, second-year SAIT Journalism student, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
In the two years I've spent here at SAIT, or even the 22 years I've lived on this earth, I never thought I'd find myself experiencing a pandemic, asked to stay home and watch the whole world go into lockdown. I'm sure neither did you.
The worst part is there isn't much we can do other than to stay put and wait this out.
While we wait, we need to learn a whole new way of how to function in this new "normal."
As this semester draws to a close and a new one is about to start up for many others, you might feel like you're missing out on the real student experience because, trust me, I feel that too. But as I sit here writing this, literally footsteps away from SAIT's campus, I know even though I'm not there, the community is strong. We are here to support each other while we settle into online learning. Many schools are transitioning to an online-first model during this crisis.
There are many ways to make the best of the remote learning experience — we're all in this together.
I joined the SAIT Facebook group for Fall 2018 before I moved to Canada. Through conversations there, I met other students in the Journalism program. We made a group for ourselves and spoke to each other through chat. It's actually how I made friends from my class before the semester even started. It's terrifying to start college all on your own — this way, you have a friend to talk to, someone who's going through a similar experience.
Engage in discussions online with your classmates — they're adjusting to this experience too. If you're new to your school, engage with students from other programs in social media groups.
At SAIT, our instructors are the best thing about the school. They have years of industry experience and real-world knowledge to help prepare students for situations they might face in their careers. It's truly a hands-on approach to education here. Since your interactions with instructors won't be in-person for the next little while, you can still take advantage of their virtual office hours and build a connection. Don't be afraid to ask your instructors questions — they're here to help you grow, even after you're done with your course.
"Your first impression is the last impression." This is a statement I live by in my life. Use class time productively by being prepped on the topics and engage in discussions related to the coursework. My instructors were available to answer my questions when I struggled to choose my major at the end of my first year and have always been helpful.
Take advantage of resources
There are often a wide variety of resources to support you and sometimes you just need to look for the following at your campus:
- Online books at your school or local library
- Academic coaching services
- Peer support or mentorship programs
- International relations department
- Student development and counselling services
- Interfaith centre
I wish you well in this new experience. Remember, you're part of the community at your school and even if you're not physically on campus, support is available to help you through this transformational time. #hereatSAIT
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