Studying from afar

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Art by Laney Green

Laney Green, Staff writer

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As COVID cases continue to rise, many college students prefer distance learning. When it came time to choose whether or not to return to campus in the fall, a handful of Linfield’s students decided the risk of getting sick ultimately out-weighed the reward of in person classes. Computer screens and ZOOM calls have become their new normal. 

Sierra Bodle’s start at Linfield was an anomaly to say the least. Bodle, a current freshman, first visited Linfield in February of 2020 right before the pandemic hit, and still decided to commit to a fall semester.

“I visited other campuses in Oregon and they just didn’t add up. Linfield was so homey and green,” said Bodle. After taking the plunge and starting on campus this fall, the Colorado native unfortunately couldn’t make what she hoped to out of the experience. With homesickness looming over her head and the coronavirus barring her from meeting new people, Bodle decided she would rather return home and continue the semester online. “I could do things in Colorado because I have connections already made, I already know people and where everything is at,” Bodle said. 

The transition to online, or ‘distance,’ learning went smoothly. Bodle started the process by reaching out to her professors and asking if they would be willing to accommodate her transition to being all online. Luckily, they all said they’d make it work and Bodle added, “each of my professors has done that differently.” She attends some classes live through ZOOM and others are recorded and she watches them on her own time. Bodle said it can be hard to interact during the live classes because she doesn’t like interrupting a lecture to ask a question or make a comment. “It’s just awkward when I’m blaring in front of the whole class,” she said. 

Overall, Bodle hasn’t minded her virtual schedule. Her only complaint would be the inconsistency of due date times within her classes. However, she’s created a system to turn in assignments the night before they are due in order to stay on top of it all and not have to uproot her plans for something that’s due in the middle of the day. 

With the rest of the campus soon transitioning to online learning for the duration of fall term, Bodle recommends setting due dates earlier on the calendar to avoid being left scrambling to turn assignments in and always have one other place to go that has Wi-Fi. 

Linfield sophomore, Ian Burnett, is another student that decided to attend Linfield from home this year. Burnett opted for a virtual schedule this fall, and continued into the spring, due to precautions and nerves regarding the pandemic. “Far fewer cases have occurred than I was suspecting, but still more than I’m comfortable with,” said Burnett.

Having experienced one year on campus and now another online, Burnett believes that because of the small class sizes he still gets to interact with students and professors which makes attending Linfield online versus a community college worth it. 

“It’s a convenience premium which kind of sucks,” says Burnett, while justifying his choice of continuing at Linfield. The hardest part for him is missing out on the social opportunities that come with on-campus living. However, he points out, there’s only so much to do while in the midst of a pandemic. 

Burnett has also faced some difficulties when it comes to interacting over ZOOM. He explains the challenges extend from not being able to read the room as well or physically raise his hand. With those constraints of being online, Burnett doesn’t talk as much as he normally would. “It’s more of a I don’t want to talk too much, not that they’re making it harder to talk,” Burnett says.

While online learning has certainly brought more challenges for Burnett, he’s also found perks in his decision. “In the past, dragging myself out of bed five minutes before class meant a last minute run across campus. Now it just means that I have to flop off my bed in front of my computer,” explains Burnett. His advice for the rest of the student body soon making the transition to online learning, is to think ahead of time since there’s less structure when learning from home.

Sierra Bodle and Ian Burnett are happy with their decision to continue their education at Linfield remotely. While undergoing challenges they normally wouldn’t have faced on campus or if there wasn’t a global pandemic, they’ve both been able to make the most out of their distance learning experiences.