By Tobi Bankole
Over a Zoom call, Yazmeen Imam ‘20 shares her experiences with distance learning due to COVID-19.
“I had absolutely no idea how it was all going to work going into it, but I didn’t think that it would be so challenging,” she said.
Imam is a senior with five AP classes and numerous other extracurriculars, so she finds it somewhat difficult to adjust to doing everything online.
“Zoom and Google Classroom aren’t as bad or inefficient as I thought they would be, but there are definitely problems. But it’s only the first week, so we’re doing all this for the first time.”
Imam also did not realize the toll that working on her laptop for so long would take.
“My back definitely hurts a lot more than usual,” she said, laughing. “And it’s really hard to focus all day when you don’t really move or interact with people. We have to stay muted on Zoom, so you can’t really talk to anyone.”
Imam thinks that the change is affecting how much she’s able to retain in class.
“It’s been a big change for teachers, too,” she said. “A lot of mine have had to change their lesson plans or the way they teach the whole class. Like in biology, we do modules and online learning things instead of as many lectures because the class is really big. And all the AP exams are really different this year, so everyone has to think about that too. No one’s really sure what to do.”
In their most recent announcements, AP exams have become open book and 45 minutes long, which is a significant departure from the three hour long format they have had for decades. Teachers have to scramble to restructure their lesson plans for enough review of the smaller number of topics the tests will cover and the newly revised schedule for the exams, which will be taken online.
However, though all the turbulence, Imam combats the fatigue and restlessness by going on walks by her house, baking, reading, and watching TV.
“I’ve been making a lot more food like donuts and brownies since quarantine,” she said. “I’ve also just been reading and watching shows more. I think taking a lot of breaks definitely helps if I feel like I’ve been in the same place for too long.
Imam also considers the wider impact her distancing has.
“There’s a pandemic going on, so we all have to play our parts, you know? If I can help stop the spread by staying at home and being responsible it feels a little better.”
Imam and her family, who frequently travel, are seeing the impacts of COVID-19 firsthand.
“My parents just came back from a trip to New York, and they’re staying in a separate part of the house for two weeks. They managed to leave before everything exploded, but you can never be too careful.”
As a senior, Imam has a unique perspective on COVID-19. She’s missing the senior dinner, the senior trip, fat pencil awards, graduation, prom, senior privileges, and countless other senior traditions that she has looked forward to for over a decade.
“I was definitely really sad at first,” she said when asked how she felt about missing these rites of passage. “But in some ways this senior year is a lot more memorable. And when all of this is over, hopefully we’ll get to pick up where we left off.”