This semester has been unique, to say the least. Being virtual has provided unique challenges, as well as unique opportunities. Almost six weeks into my virtual semester seems like a good time to check-in and see how far I have come. I am taking varying classes: Com law, TV Nation, Directors on Directing, and my capstone, Hollywood Gamechangers. Despite being online, SULA remains demanding. Luckily, I enjoy all my classes and I have been trying to gain the most out of what they have to offer. My capstone and TV Nation courses have provided amazing opportunities to engage with guests from the industry. These guests have provided helpful insight and, even though we don’t get to meet in person, they have done a really great job making themselves available and willing to connect with us. Instead of shying away and becoming another square on the screen of squares on Zoom, I’ve decided to do my best to stand out. The two biggest things I have learned that is important always when connecting with a person, but especially online is to ask questions while they are in front of you and follow up later! Establishing that face to face connection will allow them to remember you later, and you have a better shot at building an authentic relationship.
Aside from learning how to be engaged in my classes, the most important part of doing this all from home is time management. I cannot stress enough how valuable learning to manage my time at home has been. Because I don’t have travel time to break up my day, I have learned to plan out everything. I have always been pretty organized, but now I am more disciplined than ever. Last week I lacked discipline and so everything else took the fall. That has probably been the toughest part of all of this: Staying on top of work without burning out. Staring on a screen all day and then on zoom for class until 11:00pm is hard! You must take breaks. That balance is key and is certainly not easy to achieve. This goes for courses and internships. During my workday, I again learned the hard way to take a break. You would get a lunch break if you were in person, so why deprive yourself of that at home? I am still figuring it all out, but I know I am doing the right thing. So, lessons learned: Speak up on zoom to stay engaged (and take consistent notes, ofc) and take breaks throughout the day to not burn out!