Story: What are your experiences teaching & learning in the time of coronavirus?
Along with the transition of the pandemic, it was a rapid change that was filled with several different experiences. Around mid-March was when it started to seem like COVID-19 was getting real. Living the normal routine in my daily life to transitioning into a fairly different lifestyle in just a blink of an eye, there were many changes that came along and altered my daily living.
It was on March 16th, 2020, when I started to familiarize myself and get situated with my online schooling. All of my professors began transitioning our format in learning from in-person meeting to virtual Zoom meetings. I believe that in this time, it got very chaotic because of the new mode of learning overall, from witnessing several students unable to comply with online learning due to the constraints of no access to laptops and with the internet. Many students, including myself, had relied on using the computers on campus from time to time because of its convenience and with the access to free printing as well. After a couple weeks of the Coronavirus spiking, CSULB had issued news that we are going to start providing all students with free laptop loans and hotspots. Considering the difficulties that I have encountered, I sure took advantage of this beneficial opportunity towards my academics. Along with the availability of technology, I was able to became engaged with my virtual schooling. At some point, during my Zoom meetings, the connections become unstable which makes it difficult to concentrate in my classes. In comparison to an in-person course, it far easier to pay my full attention than in an online setting. These technology issues of disconnection from the internet occurs often via Zoom meetings. However, understanding that there are other college students that are on this platform all over the world explains these disconnects. The most important aspect within my daily living is understanding and coping with the changes. Therefore, it essentially became a new routine for me to find a balance between my school and personal work as the stay at home orders began.
Along with the stay at home orders that were issued on March 19th, 2020, by Governor Gavin Newsom, several individuals became overly concerned about having adequate supplies in their household. This had raised the concerns to shoppers purchasing as much toilet paper, paper towels, water bottles, and disinfecting wipes, which created a shortage of supplies. From the news of a “potential shut down” had startled many to go out to purchase as much food and supplies. While this was occurring, it seems so unreal from following mandatory protocols of wearing a face mask and 6 feet social distancing that seem fairly different. In my household, my priority was set towards obtaining food and the basic necessities for my family. When it comes to in store shopping to Sam’s Club and Costco, the lines were tremendously long waiting early in morning to get the best deal on household products. There was really no other choice but to sacrifice some time out of my day to wait in these long lines for basic essentials. Moving along with the stay at home orders being a stressor already, it has caused me with more stress after receiving the news of my family member falling ill.
In the month of June was when the Coronavirus pandemic started to seem real when one of my family members became affected by the virus. My aunt’s grandmother had suffered from several health symptoms that had altered her normal living routine. She was unable to complete her daily task of cooking and enjoying life as she became critically ill. From learning that the virus can affect any individuals especially the elderly was hard to learn. Along with my grandmother becoming a patient at the hospital, there were no visitors allowed. The only option was to call the nurse's cellphone and ask if she is getting better. From hearing stories and not being able to see a loved one was the hardest moments to experience during this crisis. Unfortunately, my aunt’s grandmother had become very ill and had passed away shortly after complicated health problems and while contracting the virus. During this time, it was the most devastating moment for me to experience a loss of a family member. Especially with the pandemic occurring, no one was allowed to attend to her funeral. My family was unable to say one last goodbye and to wish her to be at greater peace. After losing a loved one in this pandemic, it was very challenging at first, but I slowly learn to cope with this difficult experience.
Along with the pandemic occurring, there were many changes within my community. Many businesses like local restaurants, boba places, and fun indoor activities, and the beaches were closed. This is by far different than the normal lifestyle of being able to go out freely without the constraints of social distancing and a face mask. At some points, it was normal to take a drive and stop by local tea houses to grab a quick drink. The streets were empty, and the freeways hardly had traffic, which made it much for easier to get to places faster. Once in a while, I would see some individuals walking, running, and even jogging the streets of Long Beach, maintaining their distance from others and with a face mask. Along with several local spots starting to reopen, there are many protocols that are set in place to follow. This includes maintaining a safety of a 6 feet distance, wearing a face mask, and making sure to wash our hands more frequently. In some locations, checking our temperature, gloves, mask, and hand sanitizers were offered to customers to help reduce the spread the virus. Overall, I believe that continuing these methods is an effective way to help out those that are in my nearest community.
For the most part, living through this pandemic has greatly impacted my life in the long run. Although there are several new challenges that I encountered, it has allowed me to cope and learn through various experiences. There are many realizations and lessons that I have learned within this outbreak. Along with the pandemic being an unexpected transition, I will remember these changes as I move forward.
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