Zoomin’ Through Spring Quarter
Posted on June 2, 2020
by Nel Tristan
On paper, not having to get out of bed or leave your room to go to class sounds amazing. Whether you’re tucked up in your blankets and pajamas for that 8 a.m. lecture or lounging on the couch for an afternoon discussion, all you have to do is place yourself in front of your webcam and make sure your family doesn’t walk in during class.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all classes to go online for the rest of the quarter, and necessitated some big changes in our lives. Starting with receiving a bombardment of Canvas notifications.
The shift to online learning has caused a lot of stress for some students. Some packed up and left right after the announcement was made, others struggled to get back to their home state—or home country—before it was too late. Now situated at home, or lingering behind on an almost-empty campus, students are left with plenty of online discussions and Zoom meetings to fill the void in-person classes left.
For seniors, what could be the last classes they ever take at UCI are now being conducted in their homes. No matter the major, students are disappointed at having their time on campus cut short, and at being unable to attend their commencement in person until winter at the earliest.
“Having to do my last quarter at UCI online is a little disappointing,” says senior Anthony Cano. Attending classes may not require much effort, but taking the extra time to understand all the material is proving to be a struggle. “The thing I miss the most about class is the clarity. If there was something I didn’t understand, then I was able to have an actual conversation with the professor, instead of having to communicate through email.”
Students have fewer opportunities to bond with their professors during office hours, or readily communicate with fellow classmates in discussion. They also find themselves with a lot more downtime on their hands between assignments, with nowhere to go. “I would destress at the gym,” says senior David Pham, “but I have switched over to cycling around the neighborhood. Overall, I miss being able to have a separate workspace for friends and school, but they’re all mashed up in a small, cramped bedroom.”
Classes which relied on in-person interaction have converted to online discussion boards, which can leave students feeling a little overwhelmed at having to keep track of them all. Sophomore Emely Oporto says, “I’m not a fan of online classes. I feel that online courses aren’t as engaging and it is very easy to get distracted. I miss discussion sections the most because I was able to ask clearer questions in person than I am online. In math and science- based courses, it can be much easier to understand problem explanations as they are being solved in front of you.”
There are, of course, a few silver linings to the online shift. “I miss having to cook my own meals the least,” Oporto says. “My mom is the superior cook, so meals have been easier.”
The shift to online classes has left some anxious, some bored, and most struggling to adjust to a completely new routine. So far, the student body has been trying to make the best out of their situations, which is all most of us can hope for.