The first-year Zoom experience

Grace Williams, Staff Writer

She walked into her home office, dressed professionally for class. She sat at her desk, adjusting her swivel chair as she logged onto the next Zoom call. Behind her, a world map adorned the wall, filling the space in her laptop’s camera. Even though she could not be on the Westmont campus for the start of the semester, first-year Ashley Rain prepared her workspace for success. 

Though she looked forward to going to campus in August, Rain said it was important to have a personal space at home where she could work. 

“I went to Hobby Lobby to find things for school, things that teachers use to decorate their classrooms. I got a big map, an eraser board, swivel chairs, and a laptop,” Rain said. “We made a whole office for me. It was really fun! It was like playing dress-up when you’re younger.”

Even though she made sure to prepare her workspace to better function with online courses, Rain said she was determined to maintain her strong work ethic, even remotely. 

“Especially with everything online, it makes it feel like it’s not as important. You’re not at college, you’re not always focused on how hard you worked to get there,” Rain said. “I have to remind myself that I’ve worked just as hard to be here at home, still focused on doing the best that I can.”

Another first-year, Katie Ticas, who worked remotely during the first few months of the year, said courses at a middle college in the spring better prepared her to start classes online in August. 

“When move-in was delayed, I didn’t feel like it would be much of an issue. I was hopeful at first, but then I didn’t know if it would happen at all,” Ticas said. “I was just indifferent. I thought, ‘Well, I guess this is happening.’ I was just really trusting that God would work it out. Everything that happens is just a curveball at this point.”

Although students are now returning to campus, continued alterations to class formats will certainly make this start of college a memorable one for the class of 2024.