Since Whitman launched its online learning platform in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the adjustment has been difficult. After all, this situation is unprecedented. A part of its difficulty is the tendency to assume that everyone is in the same situation, but that’s just not the case. For some, being dependent on technology for education is entirely brand new. A large population of college students have never even taken an online course in their student careers, so this adaptation is especially hard.
But amidst the chaos, there is a positive experience. For example, with Google Meet and Zoom being the format used for a majority of my classes, I have felt oddly closer to my peers. We already have small classes as it is, so having a screen filled with 12 people all confessing our fears and hardships makes the situation a bit easier to manage. There is a sense of vulnerability that everyone has developed since there has been no past experience that could ever train us for this moment. I found it is easier to cope with isolation through maintaining contact with the outside world, whether that be your classmates or even your professor and advisor.
Whitman staff and faculty are also adjusting to virtual learning as well. It’s nice for the “administration hat” to come off and to speak to a lot of them, person-to-person. Speaking with some of my professors, they mention how spending so much time with their kids, when they are not teaching, has been great. They’re taking advantage of the downtime and making the best of every moment, which is something that has inspired me to connect more with my family here at home.
Though it is easy to let the situation cast a shadow on everyday life, I think it is important to take the time to appreciate all the good that can be made of the situation.