I was on campus last semester, but now I’m remote

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My alarm woke me up for my first class, but I did not want to get out of bed. It was cozy, and I was living at home, away from Williamsburg. During the fall 2020 semester, I was on campus, but I decided to be a remote student for the spring 2021 semester. I made this decision mainly because all of the courses I signed up for were going to take place online. Predicting that positive COVID-19 cases would rise in Williamsburg, I knew it would be better for me to be a remote student.

While on campus during the fall semester, there were only a few positive cases. This made me feel secure because it felt as if the College of William and Mary had done a good job at containing the spread of COVID-19 to the best of its ability. However, this changed during the following spring semester. I personally think this could be due to people wanting to go outside more, not wearing masks or properly washing their hands. This has been a major issue all across the United States. Although being a remote student gives me a sense of security as this unpredictable disease continues to spread, it can also negatively impact my academics and create an absence of social interactions in general.

To ensure that all my classes were remote, I emailed all of my professors to confirm that they would take place online, since there were some disparities between the open course list’s classifications and reality. My COLL 150 course gives students an opportunity for in-depth analysis and interpretation, which is strange to take online since it is discussion-based. I enjoy having discussions and meeting people online, but sometimes my internet connection disconnects, which leads to many complications.

It can be very difficult at times, since my video will lag during Zoom meetings with my classes, which makes it difficult to participate and listen. Some of my professors also forget to record their lectures, which does not allow me to view what happened in class while my internet was out. This problem only happens sometimes, but it could be a bigger issue if it was constant. I also think weather can play a major role in this situation. Lately, it has been super rainy with a little snow in my area, which can affect my connection differently than those students who are on campus. However, I am still hopeful that my internet connection will get better.

Being a remote student has also taken a toll on my social life. I would see people post with their friends on social media and it would remind me of how difficult it is to hang out with others while social distancing. In a way, I am very happy that I am keeping myself safe during this pandemic. However, it has been slightly difficult to meet other people, especially since I am a freshman still trying to make friends with others. Even though it is challenging to physically meet other people from the College, I can make connections with others through joining different organizations. This way, I was able to meet not just freshmen, but upperclassmen as well who share similar interests and passions as me.

I did not picture my first year of college like this, but it is the best that it can be during these difficult circumstances. Overall, I think I made the right decision for myself even if there are some negative effects when it comes to remote learning.

Bushra Bablu ‘24 is a remote student planning to double major in government and economics. Bushra serves as an Associate Opinions Editor for The Flat Hat Newspaper and the Business Manager for Flat Hat Magazine. Outside of The Flat Hat, Bushra is also involved with One for the World and Women in Business. Email Bushra at bebablu@email.wm.edu.