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Adapting to In-Person Classes

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

It goes without saying that the past year and half has been a testament to the tedious and unnatural nature of online learning. After spending my first year in college on my computer for hours completing online lectures, assignments, and exams--an experience I’m sure all of you are all too familiar with--I can’t help but wonder what normal life in college is really like. How early is too early to show up to class? Where do I sit? How do I make myself known to the professor in a lecture class of over 100 students? These were all questions that I was anxious to find the answers to after living in the dark for a year about the “real college experience”; and while although my anxiety of being late causes me to show up almost 15 minutes early to class to this day, here are some tips, tricks, and general realizations that I have gathered during my first “real” month in college.

  1. Say Hello!

Whether you’re a textbook introvert, struggle with social anxiety, or haven’t experienced a genuine conversation with a stranger since before the pandemic, meeting new people or making new friends can be intimidating during this time. It is easy to be anxious, especially when walking into your first big lecture room, about who you are going to sit next to. Although it may be the easier option to wait for someone to make the first move, take initiative to step out of your comfort zone by sitting next to a complete stranger and introduce yourself. This is a simple step that is never too late to apply within the first few weeks of school, depending on your professors' seating policies.

Additionally, establishing a small group in your classes for study help is a great way to make friends and promote useful collaboration within school work. We’ve all experienced the useless full course GroupMe's from last year that were mostly full of memes and unhelpful comments about our endless zooms. Don’t be afraid to go further and create your own network of friends within your classes that surpasses the expectations of last year. In the end, you might find yourself with new friends and a better academic experience.


Last year, it was easy to hide behind your computer screen with your microphone and camera turned off, even during your smaller classes. But with the added pressure of making eye contact with your professor during long awkward silences after he/she asks a question, it is time to have a different M.O. (method of operation). Previewing your course material will allow you to participate in class. Even if you do not know all of the information for the upcoming class, do not hesitate to put yourself out there. Your professor and your peers will appreciate your efforts. While it might be embarrassing to get the answer wrong, being the first student to make a mistake allows for a more comfortable learning atmosphere where other students will feel more encouraged to participate. Ultimately, this will not only make you stand out amongst all the other students, but it will also create a more supportive environment in the classroom.

3. HOT girls have routines

One of the hardest parts about adapting to in person classes can be trying to get back into the groove of how things were before the pandemic. The best way to do this is to establish a routine. Last year, it was easy to roll out of bed 2 minutes before class started--and that was socially acceptable. This year, things take a different turn. Consider establishing a small routine everyday before going to class. Whether this be going for a run to get your endorphins up or getting a coffee at the dining halls, putting forth a regular step in your routine can enhance your focus and allow you to adjust better to this new environment.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that we are all in the same position this semester. It can be very intimidating to make new friends and talk to your professors, let alone walk into a 200 person lecture hall by yourself. I truly encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and make this year 10 times better than it was last year. When it comes down to it, just remember that no one is really watching you. No one notices if you get the answer wrong, or if you tried talking to the kid who sits next to you in class. Through these helpful tips I hope you find your transition into this upcoming year a successful one!

Written by: Meredith Ho

Meredith is the Communications Associate in The Women’s Network at IU. She is a sophomore from Carmel, Indiana, studying Public Policy Analysis on the Pre-Law track. Besides TWN, she is also involved in IU’s fashion magazine, SEASON, as a staff photographer and the Visual Arts Liaison for HHArt.

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