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Credit: Ana Glassman

In this historic online semester, online learning has been disheartening for many students.Individually, students have issues with the strong dependence on self-motivation, feelings of social isolation, and lack of spontaneity in general. 

While these are understandable aspects of our time, students ought to realize the vast opportunities presented by online learning, and challenge themselves academically throughout the semester. 

The nature of online learning requires students to manage their entire time much more precisely. Usually, the spontaneous nature of interactions on campus oftentimes leads to time management issues that can inhibit students from spending enough time on their courses. But this semester, students learning from their homes have more control over their time and can choose to concentrate on their work.

For instance, the more individual time can also be spent on exploring extra elements of a course, such as additional articles or optional reading that our Professors attach. We normally ignore these resources out of time concerns. However, this semester, things are different, and I implore all Penn students to use these resources for intellectual enrichment.

Considering the benefits of online learning, it follows that students would do well to take difficult, challenging courses that demand more time and effort. This semester will not be the most lively time of one’s college experience, but it can be the most efficient and effective learning experience for students and an opportunity for us to challenge ourselves. It is up to us whether we want to pursue that. 

Finally, it is also very important to see Pass/Fail as an emergency option. It is tempting to pick a tough class and then relegate it to “one of my Pass/Fail classes,” but students should avoid this trap. Recognizing this unique opportunity is crucial and provides students with valuable experience navigating challenges both in college and beyond. 

In terms of co-curriculars, PennClubs has offered a timely way of parsing through all the opportunities that students can undertake at Penn. Even though online participation is not as attractive, there are still many opportunities for students to explore different activities.

It is understandable that not all students can challenge themselves thoroughly due to personal circumstances and they should only try to do so if it is feasible for them. But a positive outlook on academics and other activities this semester is both reasonable and potential helpful and reassuring for students. It provides the opportunity to explore, challenge, and honestly …  just read more. 

TEJASWI BHAVARAJU is a College sophomore from India, studying Mathematical Economics and Cinema Studies. His email address is

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