Are the Number of Emails and Notifications Overwhelming Students?
By Victoria Smith Alvarez
There is not a maybe about it—since COVID-19 entered our lives, virtual communication has been on the rise. Online exchanges between teachers, administration, and students are enough to handle under normal circumstances. Now though, new information enters students’ lives on a constant basis. Every day, there are new emails and updates to absorb. Since half the students are off campus and half are on campus, it can become overwhelming for students to juggle procedures and precautions that are constantly changing.
The question at hand is this: is there too much virtual communication coming from the University? And if so, is there a better way to deal with a constant stream of electronic updates?
According to an unofficial survey conducted on Instagram, 70% of 100 participants believe that communication from the University has increased since COVID-19 entered their lives. Fifty percent of these participants believe the amount of emails, news, and information they are receiving is excessive.1
One Walla Walla University student commented, “Information/updates are good, but I don’t need weekly emails that attempt to make me feel better about [not being on campus].”2
A few anonymous students gave their input as to how the University could do better in their virtual communication.
“[The school] could have specific emails sent to only off campus students, and vice versa. I receive a lot of information that doesn’t apply to me.”
“[The school] should make important emails stand out, so I can read those first and get to the rest later.”
“The school could have a central place for all updates (like their website). That would help clear out my email.”3
With administration and professors trying hard to keep students informed and up to date with every change that is happening on campus, it is true that emails and messages have significantly increased. Virtual communication is currently the only way to reach all students and can be a useful tool to connect WWU, even with students spread out all over the world.
Some adjustments can be made to clear out your inbox and manage all the updates and information. A useful hack is to deal with each email or message as it comes in. Similarly, as soon as an email is dealt with, delete it so it no longer clutters up your inbox.
If you believe you will need an email in the future, but you don’t need it now, go ahead and “favorite” it, or even archive it so it is still in your records. Create new folders in your inbox for classes, events, and work.
Put events on your calendar instead of keeping reminders in your email or messages. Change your email settings to prioritize communication from the senders you find most important for your life and classes.
This pandemic is not going to pack up and go away overnight, and the number of notifications will remain unchanged for now. However, know that there are ways to not feel overwhelmed!
Take each email and message in stride. Implement strategies to help you deal with the information you’re receiving. Virtual communication is our reality right now, and it can be a tool to connect us and keep us up to date. Before long, we will all be receiving updates in person. So, hang on until then!
1. Survey conducted by The Collegian on Instagram, 10/29/2020
2. Survey feedback gathered via survey on Instagram, 10/29/2020.