Redefining Productivity in the Age of Remote Classes

Do you feel like you can’t seem to return to your ‘normal’ schedule? Maybe you shouldn’t. In the age of remote classes, we need to find a way to take on the academic and extracurricular responsibilities placed upon us as college students without putting the rest of our lives on hold.

By Maryam Masood September 8, 2020
Michigan Theater sign

Even though I’m back in Ann Arbor, I still haven’t fully acclimated to my typical school-year routine. In fact, within the first couple days of remote classes, I already became behind on work. Like most students, most of my classes fall midday. During a typical semester, I either shift to a morning work schedule or carve out time at night to work on assignments.

But my first week went a little differently than anticipated. Instead, I slept in. I exercised. I ate ice-cream with my roommates. I took my classes outside. I signed up for professional development workshops that I used to think were a waste of time. I went on walks. I got my CPR/AED certification! (Something I had been putting off for a while.) I connected with new and old friends. The list goes on, but you get the point – I put myself first more times than not this week.

It was worth it. It felt so alien to spend so much of my time during the school year doing things that I love to do instead of living in the background noise of assignment notifications and work meetings, but I ended up having one of the best first weeks of school I’ve ever had.

I probably won’t get another week where I can get away with not doing homework, but my experience this week inspired me to – crazy, I know – do more things I enjoy throughout the week. Especially as I hit the mid-year point of my undergrad experience as a junior, I’m realizing, cheesy as it sounds, how my time is irreplaceable and often better spent on things other than ‘getting ahead.’

Especially amidst the ongoing pandemic and social movement for Black lives, going to class at all (remote or not) seems out of touch from our, dare I say it, ‘unprecedented’ spring and summer. We had to quickly put on our school hats and were forced to put everything else going on in our lives on the back burner to make time for our new schedules. But maybe we don’t have to so quickly accept this change. Maybe instead of making our lives around our new schedules, we make our new schedule fit into our current reality. At least for me, I’m afraid if I don’t, I’ll fall into old habits of prioritizing the wrong things.

Maryam Masood

Maryam Masood is a junior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts majoring in Organizational Studies with a minor in Spanish. During the year, she keeps busy as a student employee for CommonGround and Treasurer for the Michigan Refugee Assistance Program. Outside of class and work, she enjoys traveling, procrastinating at the CCRB, and is most likely watching Kim's Convenience or Criminal Minds on Netflix.