Students reflect on the shift to virtual learning

"I never thought I would say this but I miss my labs." The shift to virtual learning during the Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenge our students have faced head-on.

We asked a few students how the transition was going and advice for other students struggling to stay engaged.

Suffolk student Jocelyn's virtual learning environment.

Jocelyn De Paz, '22

I’m adjusting pretty well to virtual learning and being at home, I believe my professors prepared us well the first week we transitioned and have been there as an aid to help us cope with everything going on. One of my professors took the first few minutes of the first Zoom meetings to speak to everyone and make sure we could express our feelings about the situation and let us each explain with the class our coping mechanisms that have helped. It’s been great so far and I really appreciate my family for understanding my school schedule and my professors being so understanding with the change in circumstances.

Some advice I would give to other students is to set a schedule for yourself and change out of your pjs. It sounds so simple but it will really help you be more motivated to continue with your day! Also remember if you miss your friends they are missing you too, so get on a Zoom call and watch a movie together or just sit there and talk to each other. You can also start drawing, painting, or crafting again as a form of stress relief. I felt overwhelmed one day and sat down and drew for a few hours and I felt so much better and ready to do work. 

What I miss most about being on campus is definitely having karaoke nights with my roommates that ended in a dance competition, it was so great to just be able to destress with them. I miss being in the Sargent Hall Library until 1am studying for exams and just sitting there to do homework. I never thought I would say this but I miss my labs, they were really great and I am upset I was not able to complete my research.

Suffolk student Sydney's virtual learning environment.

Sydney Watson, '21

The shift to a virtual learning transition has been surprisingly smooth. I think I can attribute this to those who work tirelessly behind the scenes, Suffolk staff and students in leadership positions alike. 

Although it was a smooth transition, it is difficult to not wake up everyday and miss the sense of community I had become so accustomed to. I also think that the uncertain times we are currently facing show us how much Boston really is our campus. We can't enjoy the Public Garden or a walk on Newbury Street anymore without feeling the ultimate emptiness of our surroundings. 

I'm very used to being around people. I went to an all-girls boarding school in Jamaica and lived with as much as 30 girls at a time, and I have always had a roommate here at Suffolk. I've been getting used to complete solitude, especially still being on campus. My family is in Jamaica and the airports are closed so I will be in Boston for the foreseeable future. In regards to virtual learning, I have taken a class online at Suffolk before so it's not too odd for me. It's just the fact that I am not surrounded by my peers which is taking some getting used to. 
I would suggest making a schedule that guides your day and prevents you from staying in bed for too long. Make the schedule hour-by-hour, but definitely don't feel obligated to it. This is just a guide to remind yourself to stay productive and avoid falling into bad habits. 

Honestly, I succumb to Netflix more times than I'd like to admit. Other than Netflix, I've been trying to gain new skills and hone abilities I already possess, like cooking. 

Suffolk student Patrick's virtual learning environment.

Patrick Lovelace, '21

Adjusting to virtual learning took some time, but eventually you will get into a routine just like you did at the start of a new semester with new classes.

Some advice I would give students that has helped me adjust is remembering that most of the Suffolk resources you had available to you at school are available to you in some digital format. That advisor or professor you always went to for a question, advice, or even just someone to talk to is still there for you and just a call away.

I miss seeing my friends everyday and all the extra things that made being a Suffolk student so awesome. Events, student organizations, and just enjoying being in the greater Boston community.

One way I unplug is by letting my phone get to absolute 0% and then plugging it in until it is completely charged, that way I get away from staring at it all day.

Suffolk student Molly's virtual learning environment.

Molly McDonough, ’21

I’m adjusting to virtual learning pretty well, it’s easy to get distracted while at home. I am living off campus in the North End with one of my best friends who I met when I was abroad at Suffolk Madrid. I feel like I work best when I set out a schedule for the day so I don’t feel overwhelmed with work but also not bored without things to do. 

My number one piece of advice is to make a daily schedule that includes relaxing time and time to exercise. Something that has helped me clear my head a lot is doing yoga through online classes or running outdoors. It keeps me healthy and also allows me to get some fresh air. 

I miss the CCE the most about being on campus. I was an ASB leader this past year, and even though ASB was cancelled due to COVID-19, I miss getting to see all the other leaders during our weekly meeting and the amazing CCE staff. Since I am graduating in December 2020, I won’t have another chance to go on ASB but I’m looking forward to getting involved in their local service opportunities in the fall!

Staying sane is very difficult if you’re like me and enjoy being busy and going to campus everyday. I have been playing a lot of Animal Crossing New Horizons on the Nintendo Switch, and I have been making sure to keep up with my friends and family via Zoom or FaceTime. Keeping in touch with my friends who are also part of the Honors Council Executive board like myself, while we try to plan events for honors students online, has helped me stay accountable for my work and be able to socialize with my friends from Suffolk. 

Suffolk student Anne's virtual working environment.

Anne Muise, ’20

The shift is overall going well. With classes I usually struggle with like economics, I tend to learn better in an online format as I have more resources available to help me understand the material. Some of my classes have transitioned from a formal meeting time to a Youtube video lecture to do at any time, with something like Design Lab when we're learning Adobe Suite, it works even better than it did when we were in person. I can pause the lecture as I follow along and figure out the program. 
My professors are doing a great job of caring about how the students are doing. Most professors are being more lenient and understanding that students may not be able to give as much attention and care into their work as before. I have classmates who are getting tested for COVID-19, many have lost their jobs, have had to relocate, etc. A lot of us are trying to be as supportive as possible, lending kind words to fellow students we may have never talked to before in class. The Suffolk community is a wonderful thing and I know a lot of us are really proud of how the school is handling everything, especially with transitioning Miller Hall to help those experiencing homelessness. Overall, I'm trying to keep patience and love in mind for everyone I'm on a Zoom call with, as we all are trying our best to figure this all out. 




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