A Walla Walla Junior and Senior Share Their Experiences with Fall Quarter’s New Learning Format.
During this very different fall quarter, all Walla Walla University students must deal with a mountain of changes to their schedules, living conditions, classes, social lives, and much more. We reached out to a couple students whose learning formats look completely different and asked them to share a little bit about their day-to-day lives.
Egan Schmidt-Weiss is a junior bioengineering major. He was among the students who were welcomed back to campus, although, like most others, he must battle the joys and complications of a few online classes.
“I’m still getting used to it,” Schmidt-Weiss said, “but it has its advantages!” He finds that he can make it to a lot more meetings since they are mostly online, and commute times are often eliminated. “It [is pretty awful] to not see more people in-person, but I could get used to keeping some of my meetings online.”1
A typical day of class for Schmidt-Weiss consists of either an in-person lecture or lab in a physical classroom on campus (with masks and social distancing observed), or a pre-recorded lecture to watch on his computer.
When it comes to homework, he said, “I would say that there is more homework in some classes, but tests have become a whole lot easier, so that is rather positive.”2
About the whole experience, Schmidt-Weiss tells us, “I think it’s made me appreciate my in-person classes far more than before. I have been continually trying to stay on top of things and manage my time wisely, and this pandemic and hybrid method are forcing me to do just that.”3
Mary Bagdon, senior strategic communication major, has a university experience that is looking a little different this quarter. “On a typical day, I have three classes with a few hours break between them. I wake up maybe 10 minutes at the most before my first class and, a lot of the time, I’ll just throw on a coat over the top of my pajamas just before class starts.”4
Bagdon admits that from a student’s perspective, it’s easy to be disappointed with the University’s actions. However, she knows that the faculty and administration had very limited options and any decision they made would’ve been difficult. “Even though I’m not on campus, I’m still glad that some people are able to be.” She says, “I’m not so selfish as to wish online schooling for everyone, but I think it’s still ok for me to feel sad and frustrated for my situation.”5
There are challenges to online school, Bagdon shares, such as slow internet speed, outdated devices, and lack of interaction with other people. She said that online school is much more tiring than in-person school, with having to work with technology all day. Bagdon also adds that as an online student, it’s hard to feel like she’s still a part of the University. “I know that WWU is trying to bridge that gap, but there is just no way to replace what it’s like to be on campus.”6
However, Bagdon chooses to look on the bright side as well. “I can travel during the school week and still be able to go to classes. I wake up literally right before class starts, I can read off my notes while giving presentations, and I enjoy all the comforts of my own home!”7
Online schooling is definitely not what Bagdon pictured for her last few quarters. However, she still gets to see friends and take classes for her degree. “That,” she encourages, “is the art of looking at the glass half full.”8
1. Email interview with Egan Schmidt-Weiss, 10/7/2020.
4. Interview with Mary Bagdon, 10/11/2020.