The “struggle” of online learning in a pandemic | The new times

Wow! The past two years have been a lot for me! In short, the last two years have been “online”.

The pandemic came as a surprise, not to mention the fact that it would cohabit mockingly and comfortably with us for two years, robbing us of so much pleasure that social contact brings.

The worst thing about the pandemic is that it has thrown a veil over everything, dominating our conversations and our favorite shows, ripping away our dreams as we sit around trying to stay alive. For those of us, it has put our jobs, our schools, and our lifestyles on hold.

When I graduated from high school in 2019, I knew college would be my next big step. I wasted no time in starting my application (to African Leadership University) and was accepted in 2020.

I was thrilled to finally be an adult (at least that’s the impression everyone gave me), to leave home and embark on the adventure that was college life.

College was like a little paradise in my fantasies. A place where I would meet strangers who would become allies for life, a place where I would have fun and learn new things.

I just couldn’t hold back my excitement, but COVID-19 happened. When I first heard that we would not be going to school in September 2020, I was devastated.

I wanted someone to blame but who? I was angry because this was not how I had imagined my life. I had no intention of taking a gap year before continuing my studies. No, I hadn’t planned on being locked inside, sanitized every minute, and unable to walk around. The government of Rwanda, which simply serves to protect its people, was like an overly strict parent to me.

My university, on the other hand, did not let me down. Honestly, I have no understanding of the system, protocols, or resources, but all I know is that my studies were not hindered, even online.

As life went on, laden with the anxiety and uncertainty that came with the pandemic, it was the most delightful yet useful distraction I’ve ever undertaken.

Sitting behind my computer, I still made friends with strangers. I still learned and explored the concept of being a mission-driven leader, even in the midst of a pandemic.

I was offered a reason to continue, rather than sitting idle in my room waiting for the next meal. I opened my heart to the new reality, the “virtual” way of life that we should all embrace at some point or be left behind.

I studied the first year and a half of my long-awaited college life, online, although I still believed it wouldn’t last. Me too, I was fed up with the weather.

I embraced distractions, procrastination, and multitasking with open arms, and sleep gradually conquered my eyes, especially during afternoon classes.

Who was I kidding, though? Wasn’t that the long-awaited responsibility I was now giving up? Wasn’t it true that I was giving up when no one else had, at least not my university, my country, my parents?

My old high school classmates hadn’t gone on to college, and here I was wasting my opportunity.

I had to pull myself together quickly, lest my grades suffer and I go back to the village (home hehe) without keeping my promise! I would choose to stay in my comfort zone and rest my mission.

Nope! It was “difficult” but I couldn’t afford to stop. Now that I’ve finished my second year, I wonder…

Why me? It’s a question we usually ask when we’re on the brink of disaster, wondering why the events in our lives aren’t as joyous as we think they deserve, or are we mistaking the comparison!

Often, we take comfort in knowing that the experiences of others have been much worse than our own. But this time, we might ask ourselves, “Why us? as a way to be thankful for surviving the pandemic so far and being alive in this age of technology.

We could think about how to take advantage of the opportunities offered by e-learning. So why us? It’s not by chance, that’s for sure.

It might have been easier to put life as we know it on hold as we juggle the pandemic, but being “online” comes with a responsibility. With all the investments made, the infrastructure in place, and all the details that I will probably never list or understand. One thing is certain, even a pandemic would not stop us!

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