I remember signing up for Spring 2020 classes last November thinking, “Wow, this is going to be a busy semester but I have the perfect schedule!” If only I had known…

Learning with Children

My Spring 2020 Semester

Getting back from my Peace Communication course in Costa Rica over interterm with my 15 perfectly planned units waiting for me I knew I needed to stay organized and hit the ground running. I bought a planner and a pair of headphones for when I’d be sitting in the Beckman Hall Starbucks writing my journal article summaries in perfect APA and prioritizing which assignment to work on next. Then came March.

I’m not sure a Hollywood film crew could reenact March 11th in the Piazza when we all got the news about campus closing. Since then we have each been on our own journey finding our “New Norm”. My new norm didn’t entail moving home as I am a mother of two and a wife of one commuting to Campus from Sunny Huntington Beach California, but it did redefine my home. My home is now my office, my classroom, my daughter’s classroom, my son’s preschool, and the place I “go to relax when the day is over”. Yes, it is comical, and what my house isn’t is clean!

I’m sure your norm doesn’t look quite like mine but chances are you’re quarantining with others and figuring out how to find quiet time and space to get things done. Making my adjustments I’ve learned a few things: 

  1. How to use Zoom 
  2. How to use Microsoft teams
  3. How to work with group members remotely
  4. All of these adjustments look great on my resume and Linked In profile 

It’s true, my Linked In profile has never looked so good and taking advantage of all the new systems, skills, and technology we’ve learned has been a plus we should all be recognizing. There are other things I’ve learned outside of my classroom content as well, like:

  1. I care about more than just my grade
  2. My instructors are amazing
  3. My time management skills could use some help
  4. Silence does not exist in my house
Reading her Language Arts book to her brother

Non-traditional schooling at it’s finest

There have definitely been times when I just want to get a project done and get a good grade but learning remotely has really highlighted that I signed up to learn. I may not be learning at the exact times I had signed up for and it might take twice as long but I genuinely care about the content. What it comes down to is that we’re in college to gain experience and knowledge and if anything that’s what we got this semester.

When this semester is over and done with, I still need to know how to ethically and effectively conduct research and impress my boss with my business communication skills and non-coercive persuasion tactics. And through all of this, our professors are here to keep us up-to-snuff. I’m sure my fellow classmates can agree that many of our professors have gone above and beyond to make sure we learn what was promised on our syllabi.

The last class I attended the day we were notified of campus closure was my COM 295 Research Methods class with Dr. Hannah Ball and I remember thinking “How can I possibly learn everything I need to know about conducting research if we’re not on campus?!” As I went home with no idea of what was to come, Dr. Ball went home, and created a way for our class to continue our research project, which has been fascinating!

In my COM 311 Gender Studies class, professor Niccole Nichols has (voluntary) themed Zoom classes on Wednesdays to help us break up the monotony of quarantine, and as cheesy as that would have been on campus, its a class I look forward to.  Wearing our Chapman gear, or bringing a furry friend has encouraged us to keep our videos “ON” during our Zoom classes, giving us a little more connection and conversation in our virtual classroom. All of the changes our professors had to make in order for us to keep our projects going and to keep us connected I am sure has taken a great amount of time and effort and they too navigate their new norm. 

I’m not one to typically ask for accommodations, but in this situation, my learning (as previously mentioned) has a few more hurdles here at home and as Dr. Waldeck said when we changed to remote learning, my professors are here to support me. I’m still able to have office visits on zoom to ask for help and understanding, watch recorded class lectures if I can’t make a live class meeting time, and if I’m in a pinch with an assignment, I’ve been able to explain my situation and my instructors have given me fair alternatives and options to make sure I’m still learning the class content.

Reaching out to my instructors has been the best resource and it’s times like these that I am grateful I chose a university with smaller class sizes. Keeping up the momentum to finish out this semester takes more focus and motivation than ever but it’s worth it and I’m glad that during this pandemic I can be working on something positive for myself and come out with more knowledge and skills than when this all began and my hope is that you will too.