The pandemic has shifted learning as we know it. The difficulties of transitioning to a virtual classroom in the midst of struggling to understand how quickly COVID spread across the world has been difficult. As a recent transfer student from community college to a 4-year institution, the transition has been tough. During the pandemic, I was accepted to a university and was feeling lots of excitement wrapping up my last semester at East Los Angeles College.
But little did I know that once we transitioned online, I’d be missing out on so much. Being someone who thrived off of group studying, engagement in the classroom, and social interaction from being on campus — my whole reality changed overnight. I didn’t even get to walk across the graduation stage and celebrate such a huge accomplishment with my family and friends.
I then transitioned to University of California Riverside virtually, without meeting anyone. I found support and similar sentiments with other transfers through a Facebook group. Being a transfer student is extremely difficult; you go through a quick transition to a new environment and have to adapt to the school culture. I felt lost when school started. Due to a clerical error with my transcripts, I missed orientation, had a late enrollment, and felt completely disconnected. My experience of joining the campus was robbed. I still don’t even have my student ID.
Being a student accustomed to the 15 week semester, I transitioned to a 10 week quarter with little support on how quickly the time would go. My first quarter of school I faced difficulties learning the software of my college campus, having to make connections with professors, and getting used to the scheduling and pacing of my coursework. The online learning environment has been an entirely new experience. Most people log on to Zoom, cameras off, black boxes taking over the screen. Not ideal. After experiencing the difficulties of virtual learning, I made it a point to dedicate myself to campus engagement. I researched different organizations to join and slowly developed my community.
Now a year later, I am involved on campus with several organizations supporting me in my academic career. With the support of my sisters in the Sigma Kappa – Theta Epsilon chapter, the UCR mentor collective, and the Transfer-Nontraditional Committee, I feel that I will be entering the upcoming year ready to take full advantage of what the campus has to offer. Despite many difficulties, being in a virtual community has shown to be beneficial in some ways I never would have imagined. This year has pushed us to limits we didn’t know we had; it’s brought a new resiliency to our society. It’s forced many of us to grieve and begin living in a new intentional way.
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