Another semester at BBU (BlackBoard University).

So, all your classes are online this semester. Yet again.

You wanted nothing more than to get back on campus this fall — to see your classmates in person, to collaborate on assignments in real time and to run late for your lectures because the line at the coffee shop was just too dang long.

But, instead, here you are: listening to your course material on Zoom. And, you’re understandably let down. In fact, you probably saw the title of this article and thought,

“Oh, great. Another person telling me to just, ‘look on the bright side!’ Don’t they understand that no amount of positive thinking is going to change my mind about studying virtually? I don’t care that I can sleep in a little longer this way. I want to be on campus.”

Eye roll.

If that’s you, keep reading.

You’re right: studying virtually is hard. It’s even harder if you’re someone who learns best through constructive discussions; those just aren’t the same in remote classrooms.

We aren’t telling you to love it — or to just “look on the bright side” — but we are saying, whether you realize it or not, this experience will pay off for you in the future.

Here’s how.

You’re becoming more employable

RuPaul says, "You're hired."

Your program teaches you hard skills — not “hard” as in “difficult”, but “hard” as in “real.” “Tangible.” “Task-based.” You know, things like conducting business, designing graphics or welding.

What it doesn’t teach you, though, are soft skills: personal attributes that help you perform better in any position. Soft skills deal with how you perform your hard skills — are you a self-starter? Do you work well with others? Are you able to manage multiple projects at once and prioritize accordingly?

Unsurprisingly, the most sought-after soft skills by employers today include adaptability, work ethic, effective communication and emotional intelligence.

Even if it doesn’t feel like it, you’re honing these by studying virtually. And that’ll make you stand out as a job candidate.

You’re mastering the virtual working world

A cat typing quickly.

Those who were already in the workforce at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic had to adjust to performing their responsibilities in a completely new landscape: the digital world. That was (and still is, TBH) a struggle.

Conversely, by the time you enter the working world, you’ll already be seasoned at remote productivity because of your time studying virtually. You’ll be mentally attuned to the niches of working in the digital world and a maestro of virtual workflow tools (Google Docs, anyone?)

That experience is invaluable — especially because many experts believe the future of work is (at least partially) virtual.

When they can’t fathom how to transform a company project for the online landscape, your future employers and coworkers will look to you.

You’re getting prepared for career advancement courses

A person with pink hair cracks their knuckles.

We know we aren’t the first people to tell you this — but your learning doesn’t stop at graduation. In fact, many employers now consider lifelong learning to be an indispensable workplace attribute (and if that doesn’t convince you, studies have shown being committed to self-improvement can score you better jobs and higher pay).

While in the days of yore (i.e., pre-internet), professional development training had to be done in person, these days it’s more common to refine your skills through platforms like Skillshare and LinkedIn Learning (which you can access for free as a Humber or UofGH student).

What we’re saying is: you’ll probably have to do some type of online training down the road in your career. And, by getting a head start now, you’ll be that much more prepared when your employer signs you up for a virtual professional development session.

You’re learning to deal with the tough stuff

Chloe and Halle Bailey say, "You got this."

We’ve all had a boss we didn’t quite get along with. Colleagues we weren’t crazy about. A roommate who just couldn’t stop blasting music while we were trying to study.

In other words, we all have — and will always periodically have to — trudge through less-than-favourable situations. The bad news? They don’t get easier. But the good news? Each time you overcome one, you get stronger and better at handling them. To use an incredibly dad-like phrase, “It builds character.”

Plus, having prevailed through inauspicious circumstances makes that feeling of victory on the other side oh-so-much sweeter.

Chelsea Gray puts her arms up in victory.

It’s more than okay to be bummed about studying virtually again this term. You don’t have to love it — you just have to get through it. And, with these assets in mind, that just might be a little easier.

Plus (and we know you know this, but we’re telling you anyways), you always have IGNITE in your corner.

Just in case you still aren’t convinced — here are nine upsides to having a remote semester.

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