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How students are adjusting to the new ‘online normal’

How students are adjusting to the new ‘online normal’

Recent updates with COVID-19 have caused schools across the nation to shut down and go online. Westminster College announced the move to go remote March 18, continuing class instruction online through June 5. 

Natalie Evans is a junior at Westminster College and has been quarantined with her family in Florida for weeks. Evans said it’s stressful adjusting to the new move to online classes and lacking control over the situation. 

“I get stressed when I don’t have a plan or when things suddenly change like this. I know this is a difficult time for everyone and I want this to go back to normal,” Evans said. 

The Forum held a Zoom conference call with Evans to get her perspective on the unprecedented situation the world is in right now. Some answers have been lightly edited for clarity and conciseness.

Q: What is going on with Florida and their lockdown situation with COVID-19?

A: I think there are rumors that they are going to issue a full-on lockdown for everyone in their houses unless you need to go to the grocery store. I don’t know how they are going to issue that but that’s the goal or something to get the tourists back home because it is getting out of hand.

Q: So are you currently in self-quarantine?

A: Yeah. So me and my family, because we have a house here on the Keys, then my other half of my family have a house in Sarasota, so we have just been going back and forth between those two houses but it’s been house to car, house to car. 

We have only been around each other and we have been staying away because my grandma lives next door to them so we have just been staying away from her so she’s just been on her own.

Q: There was news floating around and polls took place at the University of Utah to do a full-on semester pass. Have you heard about that? Or what is your opinion?

A: For Utah I think it might be kind of smart […] When [the coronavirus] started spreading there I don’t think people cared about that, but then when the earthquake hit. I think that is honestly traumatizing to so many people because not only is that an earthquake and a pandemic going on that is so many things stacked up on top of each other.

So having that stress taken away [from] school right now and just focusing on families and making sure everyone is safe and healthy is way more important. They can pick up school the next year. 

I obviously think though if one person is failing all his classes [before the move to online] I don’t think he should pass. Just keep where the grades are and cut them and if they got A, B, A, B great but if he is failing all his classes don’t pass him. 

Q: Are you anxious about online classes, excited, or what is your take on this?

A: Well for me, I’m not good at online classes because I learn sitting down in class. Like my organic chemistry class is all paper. We don’t have anything online and have packets and that’s how we get our material.

Then we work everything out in class and that’s how I learn, so I don’t know how he will do that online. […] Luckily, I have a printer at home so I will be able to print out everything and be able to do it how I want to. 

But other than that in my physiology class, that’s all lectures so I have to learn that on my own. Then labs: I don’t know how we’re going to do that and it’s all up in the air. So I don’t know if it’s going to be fine.

Q: How do you think this will change school in general or specifically Westminster because Westminster is such an intimate in-class setting?

A: I think it’s going to be a bit easier to handle because we are a private school. We can do our own thing and we are also smaller.

Our school is only dealing with 3,000 kids instead of another school dealing with 50,000 kids in them. And what? Our class size is max. 25 students. We don’t have hundreds of kids in one lecture, so I think it will be easier than other schools. 

But you are right. Like that’s the whole point, because smaller classes are a better learning experience so the fact that we’re going to be online — I don’t know. I don’t think students will take it as seriously. We will just have to see how the first week will go.

Q: Do you have any tips on how to stay amused during self-quarantine?

A: Yeah so when I get bored, I take the boat [out] because I can do that, or go in the pool or go on a walk. But honestly inside, I started a new TV series that is super good. We have a bunch of board games we have been playing. The moment you start going stir crazy, step outside. Because that’s going to help even if you are stepping out for two minutes it will help your mind not go insane. 

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Hannah Foley
Hannah Foley is a junior at Westminster College. She is originally from Seattle, Washington, where yes it rains a lot. She loves working out, hanging out with friends and going to the movies. She’s passionate about music, dancing and she loves talking to new people -- and just talking in general.

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