A Day in The Life of an Online College Student

Serenity Karee, Editor/Writer

Growing up, I was always used to having things done the easy way; however, my freshman year in college humbled me in many ways. I learned some things that I lacked knowledge of, and some things happened unexpectedly. My college experience so far is different from how I envisioned it.

A picture of me in my senior year.
A picture of me in my senior year.

When I was about 9 or 10 years old, I saw myself being in a dorm room and living it up with my college friends. I did not consider how much workload I would have. Also, I did not know that I would struggle to fit certain things into my schedule such as working a part-time job.

Before I entered my freshman year, I was completing my high school courses online. I already had an idea of what online school in college would be like. When the pandemic hit, I remember hearing about students dropping out of college because of financial issues and concerns about their well-being. All of this happened during the second semester of my junior year in high school. I anticipated the worst during those times.

When I became a senior in high school, I was solely focused and trying to prepare myself to graduate. I knew that I was soon going to start college, and I wanted to do it in person; however, due to the pandemic, everyone resorted to taking their courses online.

My high school graduation: 2021
My high school graduation: 2021

I was discouraged because I wanted social interaction with people of different backgrounds. I wanted to be exposed to an environment where 

I feel comfortable working with different kinds of people, networking, and making friends. Joining zoom meetings was not the same as meeting in person. 

I did have some kind of social interaction by talking to people through the school system and the zoom meetings. I did have a chance to know little about the people that were in the same class and major as me. 

I realized during my first week of college as a freshman, that some of my professors had high expectations of me. I had to have my work completed within a small time frame, which was something I was not used to. 

There were some things that I had to compromise, including going to work full-time. When I first started college, I was only 18, and I wanted to have my freedom and independence. I wanted to make my own money and save for my personal needs and my future. 

Thankfully, my boss, who was my mother, took some time off my schedule, so I can focus on college and still make money on the side.

A photo taken during pandemic: expressing tiredness.
Photo taken during the pandemic: expressing tiredness.

During my first month of being a freshman in college, I was completely overwhelmed by everything that I had to do. The stress I felt during my last two years of high school did not compare to the stress I dealt with during my first year in college. Also, around that time, I was moving, so I had to figure out how to pack while studying for upcoming exams and midterms.

I found myself in misery at that time because I spent most of my time completing assignments. I could not find any time in my day to spend time with my family or do things that I enjoy doing on the side. I was too busy to figure out how I was going to create my schedule for school and other things on the side.

After my freshman year in college, one vital thing I learned was you cannot expect professors to be understanding of your schedule and the other commitments you have besides completing assignments. Although some professors will willingly give you extra time to study and complete work, still have low expectations for your college professors. Your professors already got their degrees, so it is up to you whether or not you want it. 

A big mistake I made in my first year of college was not talking to my advisor. Although I passed my freshman year, I still wish that I had talked to my advisor because maybe she would have given me advice on how to balance my schedule. 

Now that I am a sophomore in college and I am currently in my second semester, I have learned how to balance my schedule. It took me some time to get well adjusted to the college lifestyle, and now that I am, I have learned how to fit certain things into my schedule outside of school. 

I create a daily routine, which is to wake up around 8:30 in the morning, take care of my hygiene, and put nutrition in my body, so I can be able to function properly. I prefer to do my assignments in the morning because I know that I have other commitments later on in the day. It took me some time to train myself on my schedule, and my advice is to see what you have to complete weekly, daily, or monthly, so you can know the deadlines. 

Another thing I learned is to not overwhelm myself too much. I constantly do more than what I need to do, which is something I need to avoid. Doing that will only delay me in other things I need to do throughout the day. 

If I have a week to work on an essay, I may work on the rough draft on Monday, edit the rough draft on Tuesday, and finalize it on Wednesday. Once the essay is finalized, then I can turn it in, and work on other assignments. So far, college taught me the importance of juggling things altogether, and it made me get better at multitasking. 

I was the type of person who would always try to get most of my work done on my own. One of the things I regret in my first year of college is hesitating to ask others for help. It will lift the weight off your shoulders and save you more time for the other commitments you have.

No matter how hard the work is, always seek help. Some schools will provide free tutoring services or if not, consider investing in tutoring. It will all pay off one day.

My advice to anyone who is in college is to always take your time on everything. Do not feel the need to rush, because that will do nothing but add more stress and delay your learning progress.

Be aware of the other commitments you have, and figure out a way to fit that into your schedule. Another vital thing is eliminating the bad habits you have when juggling your personal life and school because that will save you more time. 

If you find yourself rushing through assignments, trying to get things out of the way, thinking that you can do it all, etc., it is time for a self-evaluation. When you finally admit that you have one of those problems, think of ways to break out of it. 

Although everyone’s experience is different, my senior year did not prepare me for the college lifestyle. It taught me about college and the basics of it; however, it was not a wake-up call for me. My freshman year was a rude awakening, and I was left with clues on what I should do. Try to be prepared as much as possible because it is harder to adjust to something without training yourself on the reality of it.

Overall, my college experience has taught me the importance of being an adult so far. Although I find it difficult to fit things into my schedule, such as work, chores, family time, and school, I had to figure it out. Little did I know, there were people with full-time jobs simultaneously taking college courses. 

Overall, there are several things to consider before going to college. Do not have high expectations for your college professors, do not overwhelm yourself, and learn how to multitask. There are some things I wish I knew before my freshman year of college. Once you learn how to do those things, you will be successful, I promise.