Expectation vs Reality Starting College in a Pandemic

I believe we all know college is nothing like the movies. There’s no party every Friday night nor meeting the love of your life. And even though it’s not as tough as university yet, there are still a couple of assignments that’ll have you scratching your head as someone who’s still not used to them. The expectations vs reality of college was clear for me but what I didn’t expect was how the COVID-19 pandemic changed my whole college experience!

Allow me to show you the unexpected reality of college life during this stay-at-home period. Let’s see how many of them you can relate to!

1. Campus Life


You couldn’t wait to explore the Taylor’s Lakeside Campus — the library, the facilities, the restaurants… but the lockdown happened and you can only stay at home. No more studying in the library, playing sports in the campus multi-purpose courts, or eating with your friends. Even if there were a few weeks of physical classes when the number of cases were low, social distancing was still in effect and not all facilities and restaurants were open. Hmm… I wonder how the ducks and turtles in the lake are doing?

2. Classes


If there’s an 8am class in your schedule or those evening classes that ends at 6pm, it means you’ll have to leave home early if you’re staying somewhere far or leave the campus late. Why? The horrible traffic. 

But with the switch to online classes, you can now wake up 5 minutes before class and still make it on time. What’s better is that you can attend class in your pyjamas! You just have to make sure you look presentable just in case you’re required to turn on your camera as this is one of the crucial online learning etiquettes. Remember to always respect your lecturer!

3. No More Dress To Impress


Of course, following the previous point will be this. We often see people dressing nicely to college and there are even college fashion ideas on the internet. After weeks of shopping for my new stylish campus outfits and planning the cute OOTDs, I’m told I no longer need to go to campus for classes. 

Now my new clothes sit in a corner of my closet. On the bright side, I don’t need new clothes for the new year! Well… That’s a lie. I still need new clothes every day! Are you a fashionista? Take a look at the brand new collaborative working Fashion Studio at Taylor’s University, Mayomode!

4. Making New Friends


Orientation days are the best time to make some new friends, but even that has been moved online. This means you’ll start classes with nobody you know, unless you have some from your old schools. You’ll only get to know your classmates during the first lecture, exchange numbers, create a WhatsApp group which will stay silent for a few days until the next class or when there are important notifications. 

Useful tip: Want to get connected with your classmates? You can exchange Instagram accounts with each other to know more about their social life and how they express themselves! From there you can also find common interests to start a conversation privately.

5. Group Assignments


You’ve always wanted to experience doing a group assignment at a round table in the library or the X-Space classrooms, but because of the social distancing order, you now do it on virtual platforms such as Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, or WhatsApp. This could be difficult for some as you never know who’s online and who’s not. But fear not, follow these tips to handle group assignments remotely and you’re good to go. 

Remember, communication is the key to a healthy relationship even with your group members! There are plenty of activities to keep your friendship growing even though you’re apart from one another, a simple round of game like Among Us or watching a movie is more than enough!

6. Social Life


Nope! Stay at home, flatten the curve! There are plenty of virtual activities you can join, from academic club activities, webinars to enhance your life skills to virtual movie nights, there are just as many activities you can participate in online! You can also take this opportunity to pick up a new language! It’s not about whether you can do it, but rather if you want to do it, right? With that said, you can consider joining my club, Taylor’s AKPK to learn more about financial management! I promise you it will be fun!

Now that we’re at the end of it, how many of these did you relate to? Are you planning to enter Taylor’s College in the future? Make an appointment to see a counsellor in person or simply submit an enquiry form and a counsellor will contact you via call or chat to assist you! Let’s all be responsible citizens and hope for the best for Malaysia and may everything be back to normal soon.

Denise Chang is currently pursuing Foundation in Communication at Taylor's College. She is also the Director of Public Relations and Events for Taylor’s AKPK Club.

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