What Virtual Learners Have To Say

Sanjna Srinivasan, Leo Yang, and Christina Tao

Sanjna Srinivasan:
Attending all classes from 3 to 10 pm, soon to be from 4 to 11 pm because of Daylights Saving Time, has been both difficult and easy at the same time. One thing for sure, staring at a screen for a minimum of seven hours a day has definitely not been healthy, but, having no other alternative, I have no choice but to stick with it. Other than an extensive screen time, attending all my classes has saved me from watching class recordings. Being virtually present in a class enables me to ask any questions I may have on the spot and also keeps me engaged in class discussions, which I wouldn’t be able to do while watching a recording.
Doing activities online has also been a challenge. Being one of the leaders of the Model United Nations club, finding a time that works for everyone that isn’t too early or too late has been tough. Despite the current situation, many people are still involved in many extracurriculars, making free time even less accessible.
Leo Yang:
For virtual learners, attending extracurricular activities not only needs commitment but most importantly requires motivation and dedication. It is easy to let things slide; afternoon activities are mostly optional for us, and there are very little expectation regarding attendance for clubs or affinity groups. Especially for those who don’t connect with on-campus learners a lot, it is a challenge to get motivated to wake up early in the morning and join an acapella rehearsal or club meeting. I think one of the biggest disadvantages of virtual learning is that we don’t have a lot of opportunities to make new friends or even connect with our old friends the same way as before, which sometimes brings a sense of insecurity and loneliness. Nevertheless, I still push myself to wake up and join Greensleeves from time to time just to not make myself detached from it.
Activities themselves also operate a little differently. Aside from many that are completely online, others have Zoom rooms open for us to enter. I’m glad that I can still be a Green Key Head since Green Key uses a tour video and Zoom Q&A sessions for visiting families. Sadly there wasn’t any way for us virtual learners to be involved in the fall carnival events over the weekend, but at least we got to rest and be with our families.
Christina Tao:
As COVID-19 swipes through the globe, it has impacted various aspects of people’s lives from academics to work to leisure time. For me as a senior and a virtual learner at Berkshire, my college application process is made a bit more difficult and challenging by the pandemic. On the positive side, staying at home gives me more free time to write my college essays since I’m not required to go to afternoon activities due to the time difference. Nevertheless, it is harder to communicate with the college counseling office from thousands of miles away. Thus, there is more responsibility on myself. Moreover, remote education offers an entirely different studying experience. I sometimes find it difficult to concentrate on class materials at home, which makes writing the personal statement and all the supplementals more demanding. Unlike those who can go back to campus and take the SAT, I can’t take the exam because of the travel restrictions. Sometimes, it is still hard to believe that I am going through this stressful and strenuous admission process – ED’s deadline is within a few days!