Novos adjust to new classroom settings

Schools all over the world are adapting to the new academic year whether it is face-to-face or completely remote. Students, faculty and staff have devoted a great deal of time and energy to welcome the technological changes that COVID-19 has incited in American schooling. Meanwhile, the cohort of 2020 has been introduced to college experience mostly online: their study spaces and socratic discussion have taken place in their bedrooms. 

“I chose to stay completely remote because I don’t see things getting better any time soon,” third year Sarah Nash said. “It’s been hard to handle the start of school, I think faculty can do better when including students who are on Zoom.”

Sarah Nash, a third-year transfer student, in her renovated office space in Tampa, Florida.

Some students have enjoyed the perks of at-home schooling. Third year transfer Elizabeth Mena said she appreciates the comfort of living back home in Miami despite being so far away from friends. 

“I definitely miss the social aspect of school, like PCP and hanging with friends whenever, but I like the control I have over my space,” Mena said. “There is less expectations of who is doing chores, who needs to clean up when living with roommates. It is something less to worry about, which makes school easier.” 

Elizabeth Mena, third-year transfer based in Miami, Florida.

Students have made a point to find creative solutions to their academic reality. Second-year transfer student Bella Shuler renovated a shed that connects to her house in St. Petersburg. The small, well-lit room is decked-out with a desk, bed and AC unit. She’s been living there since the academic year has started to completely be focused in school. 

Bella Shuler in her refurbished shed in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Second-year Marie Stebbings perfected her study space in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Stebbings explained that it would save her money and could still visit immunocompromised family members if she stayed at home. A bright red poster hailed behind her during the Zoom photoshoot. 

“My mom lived in Bolivia and brought back this poster of a leftist-activist singer, Haydee Mercedes Sosa,” Stebbings said. 

Marie Stebbings, a second-year student, posing in her bedroom in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Second-year Mia Sweetland also prioritized seclusion, but opted to stay on-campus. Intricate masks and holiday string lights hang on their walls. Belongings are in their place for the semester, including Sweetland’s backpack and desk light. 

“I decided to come back for privacy and normalcy,” Sweetland said. “I’ve been completely quarantined in my dorm. It’s been easy to do so with all the schoolwork I already have!” 

Second-year Mia Sweetland opted to stay on-campus for the school year in a letter dorm.

Whether students are opting for completely remote or hybrid schedules, their daily lives have mostly been confined to their homes. The question of how faculty will accommodate to complete-remote students still lingers. For now, Novos have been busier than ever keeping up with schoolwork and their own lives impacted by the pandemic. 

This article has been updated to correct students’ biographical information.

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