Is Remote Learning so Bad? Two Batesies Share their Experiences Learning from Home

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Eleanor Boyle, Managing Arts & Leisure Editor

Bates has now entered its third week of module A and of the school year. Now, after more than 1700 of Bates’ students returned to campus, it’s safe to say a majority of students are learning how to process the new normal at school. But what about the 150 students who elected not to return? 

Adrian Azari ‘21 and I both chose to learn remotely this semester; we had many reasons for staying home, but the common one was that we didn’t feel it was safe enough for us to return, despite Bates’ repeated reassurances. 

Adrian’s Workspace\Courtesy Photo

Besides the risk of getting ill, Azari knew that because of his AP credits, his summer abroad experience before junior year, and extra classes he’s taken, he would be able to take a leave of absence. So far, remote schoolwork has gone well for him. Instead of focusing on multiple classes, he is using the time to work solely on his History and Politics theses.  

“Having all this time to work on the magnum opus of my Bates academic experience has so far proven to be very fruitful,” he said.

Plus, even though he’s not on campus, Azari still contacts his friends frequently through phone calls, texts and facetime. He said that when he sees the face of someone he loves, it gives him some “fuel” as he remains at home. 

A club that has particularly helped him is the video game club, which he said has “[provided] a community for Bates Students to interact and play games together whether we are on campus, in our dorms, or at home for the semester.” He said that playing games with such an inclusive community is special and he thanks the club for doing that for him.

And because he is a senior, he is planning on coming back next semester with the confidence that Bates will have figured out how to handle students on campus, which makes him feel safe about returning. 

For me personally, all of my classes this semester are completely remote, meaning that there was no option for in-person learning. Thus, the only potential benefits of returning would be being back in Lewiston and seeing a small portion of my friends (at a distance). 

The idea of not seeing them much at all during the never-ending Maine winter was something that frightened me. I rely on my friends as a major destresser and looking at them through facetime or waving to them as we freeze outside was not something I was looking forward to. 

I chose to remain home, and like Adrian, I try to text or zoom my friends as much as possible because any connection is better than no connection.

A day in my life goes as follows: 

I wake up around 8 a.m. unless I have my morning class, in which case I wake up at 6 a.m. I do work till about 11, and afterward start getting ready for my midday class, which is then followed by more study time. Tuesdays and Thursdays are when I usually go out and do errands, such as sending mail or going to the grocery store. Every day I try to finish all my work by 5 p.m., since at that point, I start making dinner. For me, this schedule is the most efficient. 

Eleanor’s Workspace\Eleanor Boyle Bates Student

A surprising benefit of staying home is that even though I don’t have my friends around, I’m not as stressed as I was at school. I have my own bathroom, my own kitchen, and the laundry area for example. I don’t really have to block out time in my schedule for meals or chores. 

These small aspects about living at home have eased my stress greatly and for the first time since probably elementary school, I’m not focused on what my schedule looks like after my last class of the day. I’m not worried about being late for a meeting, since my computer is where I do all my work. No longer do I have to plan around mealtimes, or around when my laundry will be done. 

And because I’m one hour behind my friends in Maine, I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing study or work time or valuable sleep hours, which has always been something I worry about when I give myself time to relax and just be with my friends. 

Though I chose to stay home this semester, like Azari, I am also planning on going back to Bates for the winter. From hearing stories of students on campus and updates I have been getting, I believe that Bates will have a strong handle on the situation, and I feel safe in returning.