If you’ve been following the Impact Blog over the past few days, by now you have learned that classes have moved completely online and that BC Law has switched to a pass/fail grading system. Professors and students used last week to adjust to our new “normal,” but here is what I have learned so far.
- Large lectures don’t seem all that different.
I’m only in one large, lecture-style class this semester, and to be honest, it doesn’t seem all that different. The professor is still doing most of the talking, the participation from students seems to be just as high, and we are getting through the material at the same pace. I’ve been in a few classes where the professors record their lectures, and this feels like a more interactive version of that. I’m sure if you really enjoy speaking up in large classes, getting used to a virtual classroom may take a bit more time, but for me, this has been an easy adjustment.
- Assignments aren’t going to change just because the classroom has.
A number of my professors this semester have assigned out-of-class assignments in the syllabus. Even though we are not on campus to attend outside lectures or work with group members on presentations, my assignments have not really changed. Instead of an in-person lecture, we are being required to watch Ted Talks, and instead of preparing for projects in a library study room, my classmates and I have to schedule Google Hangouts. I think it would have been even more stressful had our professors significantly changed the syllabus this late in the semester, and therefore appreciate the flexibility from students and professors alike.
- Students and student groups are being innovative.
I am not the most tech-savvy person, but I must say that I have been impressed by my peers throughout this transition. Last weekend, we had our Law Review elections. Typically, these take place in-person and all candidates are required to give a speech and respond to a short Q&A, and then there is an open forum where all members of Law Review weigh in. The leaders of Law Review wanted to do their best to emulate an in-person election, and opted for a Zoom conference. They had all candidates record their speeches, had three backup plans in place, and did a test run the night before to ensure everything would run smoothly. I was a little surprised that there were no glitches, but given how many hands were on deck, I should have expected a success. All Law Review members attended, the Google polls worked, and we elected our new E-Board!
- Changing where you study may be the biggest battle of all.
I decided to come home to DC as soon as I caught wind of potential lockdowns. It is easy enough for me to get distracted in my Brighton apartment, but I feared that being home could be even easier. I have two younger siblings and two dogs which, unsurprisingly, cause a lot of commotion. I spend most of my time studying in the library, so it has definitely been difficult to adjust to my new study space. I am now living in soundproof headphones and try my best to stick to a similar routine, which means getting up well before my 10 a.m. class. I’m a little nervous about how final exams and papers will go, but only time will tell.
- Use your extra time to stay in touch with friends and family.
It can be difficult to find the silver lining in all of this chaos. To help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety, I have resorted to more regular FaceTime calls with friends and family. I’ve seen a lot on social media about virtual happy hours and workout classes, and am definitely going to be trying these out myself. I know staying inside is not easy for anyone, but try thinking of this as an opportunity to reach out to people with whom you have fallen out of touch (or friends who you are used to seeing on a daily basis). Chances are they are also stuck at home, so you probably won’t have to play much telephone tag.
Distance learning will definitely continue to present challenges, but for now, I am trying to stay as positive as I can about all of the changes going on around us. The Impact bloggers look forward to providing more updates as we navigate the rest of our semesters.
Courtney Ruggeri is a second-year law student. She loves hearing from readers: email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.