As we are all adjusting to living in unprecedented times, Scholastic wanted to hear firsthand from Notre Dame students about their experiences away from campus and transitioning to asynchronous learning. Below is a compilation of short excerpts written by students in response to a survey administered by Scholastic.
What have been your biggest frustrations over the past few weeks? What have you enjoyed?
Frustrations include having a poor wifi connection at home and trying to find ways around that, online classes going past the regularly scheduled time pretty regularly, and trying to do homework when my whole family is home. I have enjoyed spending a lot of time with my family though, they're all really supportive and are doing their best during this weird time. - Kenize Hengesbach, Class of 2021, Westphalia, Michigan
I miss my friends terribly. As I am in the middle of a big city I have not been able to go outside at all. I miss the sunlight and fresh air. I feel I am a more impatient person here and get frustrated at even the smallest provocations from my family members. I have enjoyed the spare time: I got into yoga and have been writing poetry and painting. Reaching out to friends seems more meaningful and I have been reflecting and much more grateful for the mundane. - Ana Clara Parga Nina, Class of 2021, São Paulo, Brazil
Specific to courses: When I have big exams or projects due I typically like to go somewhere that I can be completely alone without any distractions such as a lecture hall in Nieuwland or the Riley art seminar room, but this really is not an option for me now. Before my biochemistry exam last Thursday I drove 20 minutes to the local state park and just stayed in my car and studied there multiple times because it was the only place where I was alone with both my parents and my brother working at home.
I have appreciated that for my biochemistry class I am able to work as quickly as I want. I took my second exam for the course last Thursday but our professor is so far ahead in his lectures and I am making time to do one or two lectures a day which now means that just five days after my last exam I have viewed all but one of the lectures that will be covered on our third exam which is still three weeks away. - John Swift, Class of 2021, Columbia Missouri
My wifi connection isn't great so sometimes Zoom will be slow and sometimes my WiFi shuts off all together sadly. Also, Zoom isn't conducive to discussion and participation, so I endure many awkward silences in classes. Also, it's hard to get ahead on work as teachers are often behind on posting lectures and assignments. - Blake Johnson, Class of 2021
All of my family is home with me, which is the greatest blessing, but also the biggest distraction. Time management is not one of my strong suits and even on campus, with designated study spaces and a library, I still get very distracted. Attempting to do work from my constantly bustling kitchen table is even more challenging, in regards to focus. However, I've made peace with the situation at hand and decided to look on the bright side of things. I am thankful for what may be the last five months my immediate family all lives together in one house. I am inspired by the kindness and communal responsibility displayed by others. I hope that even when life "returns to normal" people retain that sense of communal obligation and recognition of shared humanity that is so strong right now. - Julianna Conley, Class of 2022, Tustin, California
I have been most frustrated by trying to find the same level of motivation to do work that I had while on campus. It has been difficult to have my schoolwork separated from the community at Notre Dame and every other part of life on campus. I've realized that my work, my social life, my friendships, my extracurriculars, etc. previously complemented each other, and it feels really unbalanced to be continuing with work in the absence of everything else that defines my experience at Notre Dame. - Katie Lucenko, Class of 2022, Connecticut
I have limited data and no wifi at my house so it has been a struggle to watch the lectures and take part in the Zoom classes as I may not be able to in the future when I run out of data. - Rachel Rocco, Class of 2021, Michigan
My biggest frustration is both a blessing and a curse: I love being with my family, but it's been really difficult to separate my school life and my home life so that I feel like I am giving my best to both. When your study space is your kitchen table, it doesn't feel like much of a break to also eat dinner and socialize with your family there. From the time I wake up in the morning to the time I go to sleep, I'm in a constant state of being caught between classwork and family time. In many ways, this is a lucky problem to have; I think it will just take some getting used to. - Sophia Stefanovski, Class of 2021
Are there any other thoughts about this pandemic / the times that you’d like to add?
It's made me realize just how motivating of a space that Notre Dame is. Even though I have a quiet space, wifi and wonderful teachers, I now know that I take for granted the inspiring atmosphere that ND and my other classmates provide. - Amanda Jarosik, Class of 2021, Arlington Heights, Illinois
My summer internship was canceled which is incredibly upsetting as I am a junior and this is my last summer to do something meaningful. My Plan B was to apply for funding from ND to carry out another project but they have also cut funding. I understand health and safety are a priority but I am struggling to find something this late in the game. I also really miss my buddies! - Ana Clara Parga Nina, Class of 2021, São Paulo, Brazil
School is incredibly more challenging when you can't work in groups. Homework feels so, so much more challenging. It is crazy how much more effort the same amount of work takes me to complete. It would be nice if profs reduced the workload they give us. It is profoundly sad to sit quite literally all day working on things that you would usually do with company. And even sadder knowing that company would have made me work more effectively. - Patty Dirlam, Class of 2021
This pandemic has shown people the importance of relationships with others. Knowing that someone is your friend or family isn't enough. Relationships require communication and checkups to properly thrive. I have found many different ways ranging from Netflix Parties to Zoom Formal to connect with many different friends, even some from back home that I barely talked to while at college. I will be coming out of this pandemic with a greater appreciation for the relationships I have with others and a preparation to be better at staying connected to others. - Kimani Krienke, Class of 2022, Portage, Indiana
It's really hard to keep working right now, but we're all trying. I just hope the school knows that we're trying. - Theresa Azemar, Class of 2021, Georgia
(Photo by Kaelyn Bender)