Student bloggers write about transitioning to e-learning, missing routine

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic turned the world upside-down, mostly emptying campus,  distancing classmates and sending learning online. As they transitioned, Norwich student bloggers used the “In Their Words” webpage to document challenges logistical and emotional and offer advice and encouragement.

On March 20, when Norwich extended spring break to monitor the pandemic and keep students safe and healthy, blogger Isabella Anemikos, a freshman nursing major from Milton, Vermont, wrote that she’d yearned to resume campus life but understood why she couldn’t.

“I went and packed up my room and said my goodbyes,” she wrote. “Having to leave on such a short notice was super hard and extremely emotional. I didn’t get to say goodbye to so many people I wanted to. I don’t get to do so many things that I was used to doing. This is not what I wanted at all. I wish I could go back.”

“I didn’t get to say goodbye to so many people I wanted to. I don’t get to do so many things that I was used to doing. This is not what I wanted at all. I wish I could go back.” Isabella Anemikos, Norwich University student bloggers

She wished her fellow students a smooth transition.

“I wish everyone luck on their first week online and back,” she wrote.

Ethan Shoen, a freshman criminal justice major from Port Huron, Michigan, and member of the Corps of Cadets, echoed Amenikos’ good wishes.

“Hope everyone stays safe,” he wrote. “(Remember) to maintain good hygiene standards and you will be good!”

On March 29, senior Aleia Manning wrote that she was in Washington, D.C., with fellow criminal justice majors for National Security Policy Week when she heard classes would go virtual. She suddenly had to make a big loop — back to Northfield, Vermont, to collect her belongings, then back home to Washington, D.C.

Traveling would eat 20 hours, many tanks of gasoline and freeway tolls. She packed her belongings, coordinated a storage unit and rented a truck. She wouldn’t travel alone; classmates going her way joined the trip.

A blogger writing as Sarah L. went home to California, which was under the stay-at-home orders Gov. Gavin Newsom instituted March 20.

Home-school experience

On March 24, Sarah L. wrote that she was sorry not to be able to see her friends, at home or on campus, but was glad to help flatten the infection curve. She said the experience of having already been home-schooled would ease her transition.

Student blogger Isabella Anemikos shows an “I stay home for … ” sign. (Photo courtesy Isabella Anemikos.)

She urged her classmates to manage their time. She said she helped herself by creating a schedule that mimicked her on-campus schedule — class times were for completing assignments and viewing prerecorded video lessons on NUoodle; outside-class times were for ancillary projects and homework.

“This all boils down to time management,” Sarah L. wrote. “(B)ecause it is up to me to be responsible for doing the work that the professors have provided.”

Meanwhile, in her March 29 post, Manning wrote that visiting the Wise Campus Center as she headed home reminded her how radically everything had changed.

“Looking at the graduation clock … it dawned on me that graduation would not be happening as it was scheduled,” she wrote. “It was extremely disappointing to think that I had worked so hard to fast-track my courses just to either delay or cancel graduation.

“However …  I want nothing more than to walk across that stage and receive my degree,” she wrote. “Although I‘m disappointed in how this semester is ending, I think the faculty and staff at Norwich have handled this situation extremely well.”

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