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Adjusting To The New Normal

2020-04-13

Anastasiia Kasianchuk, a senior studying Psychology, and Roberts Lanka, a freshman studying English Language and Literature, have to adapt to the online classes during the quarantine. Roberts is currently in Latvia, studying from his home while Anastasiia has decided to stay on campus and fulfill her duty as a Resident Assistant (RA). Both of them have been impacted by the current situation and they are trying to figure out the ways how to stay productive and succeed in their classes.

Where were you when you found out that LCC was moving its classes online until the end of a semester?
Anastasiia:
I just came back to the dorm from one of my favorite coffee shops in town. Little did I know, it would be the last time I would go there for a long time. Like many other students, I was waiting for the email, but my wait was interrupted by a call. During this call, an email was sent to all LCC students notifying us about the quarantine. This was the moment when we entered a new reality.
Roberts: I was already at home during the Spring break anxiously waiting for the email, just like the rest of the students. It was obvious that after we received the email, things will change for everyone in the LCC community.

How do you feel about having to finish this semester online?
Anastasiia: I think it was a thoughtful and timely decision on behalf of our university to go fully online until the end of the semester, for which no one was prepared. I lament all the meaningful “lasts” I unknowingly had prior to the Spring break instead of the last weeks of April. I would have never imagined myself missing 8:30 classes, but my semester is just not the same without them. Frankly, I feel like the semester, and my LCC journey together with it, are over, even though I am still completing assignments online.
Roberts: Of course, it will be a little bit more difficult, but we already had a lot of projects and papers online, so I try to think of it as just extra work on top of what we already had to do.

How is it communicating with your professors only online?
Anastasiia: I took great advantage of being able to stop by my professors' offices, so online communication feels a lot different. Things take longer to figure out and everyone is available at different times.
Roberts: Bless their hearts, we all can see that they are trying their best to balance the situation and still maintain a high academic level of teaching. So far, it has been both fun and touching to see them struggle with a technology-heavy teaching style, and experiencing all the tech-related problems. Moreover, I think it is difficult for our professors to understand that this is how they will have to teach for the rest of a semester. Despite the fact that we have to finish our semester online, there is a sufficient amount of online material that will help me succeed in my classes.

Anastasiia, you decided to stay in the dormitory until the end of the semester. How was your student life impacted by staying here at this time?
It has been weird not to attend any campus events, and not being able to get together in groups either for a friendly meal, movie, karaoke or game night. It is challenging for our close-knit community. Our staff and faculty have been incredibly supportive and creative in keeping our spirits up. Practically every Monday or so, students in residence halls are spoiled with homemade soup or baked goods made by our faculty and staff - one of the new highlights of student life. Also, students in the dorm are trying to motivate themselves to study by dressing up, meaning wearing something else other than just sweatpants and hoodies.

Roberts, what was the adaptation process of online studying like for you?
What you can see now is people taking up new hobbies, re-watching TV shows or asking others what activities they could pursue, but I don't get where they find the time. This week has had more assignments than most, and it will be interesting to see what finals week is going to look like.

Anastasiia, you are a senior, writing your thesis. How did the shift to an online education impact your final project?
Luckily I am in the final stages of thesis writing, so I can navigate these muddy waters more independently and have a sense of clarity as to what my next steps should be. Even remotely, I still get valuable feedback from my advisor, which helps me feel accountable for my work. What I am anxious about is defending my thesis online. This is my worst nightmare these days! The defense is scary as it is, but doing it remotely adds extra pressure with so many factors out of my control affecting the quality of my presentation, for example, internet connection. I will also miss the comfort of making eye-contact with familiar faces in the audience. Fingers crossed that Lithuanian quarantine comes to an end soon.

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