Hannah Rosenberg / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

As the University shifts to online learning after Thanksgiving Break, students must acclimate to virtual classes once again.

December 1, 2020

Students Transition — Once Again — to Online Learning

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Instead of walking to class and seeing friends around Cornell’s campus, students are finishing the remainder of the fall semester at home behind a screen — presenting a challenge for many students. 

For Sarah Hughner ’23, who is currently in Florida, it was difficult to transition into online classes after spending time with family and friends over the Thanksgiving break.

Returning to her family for an all-online class experience is no new endeavor for her, given the previous spring semester. 

Although the semester has been challenging, Hughner said she is grateful for her quiet learning environment at home and access to Wi-Fi. 

The transition to online classes has led students to create a learning environment at home similar to one they had on campus. Steven Jiang ’21, a New York resident, said this adjustment has not been too cumbersome to deal with since he studied abroad last semester in Hong Kong and all his courses were online.  

“It is easier to get distracted at home since you’re in a different mode,” he said. “It is not easy to be as focused with the online environment”.

With family members at home, quiet is not always an option. Jiang said he sets aside specific times to focus on school work, closing the door as he works in his room. 

Zoe Robbins Rutkovsky ’24, who is also from New York, said there was “a lot of change happening at once, rather than a gradual transition.” After finishing her semifinals, Robbins Rutkovsky still had projects and assignments due the day that she was heading back home on Nov. 24.

Now, she is currently adjusting to her new learning environment as classes resume abruptly.

“Professors were pretty flexible about granting extensions,” Robbins Rutkovsky said, whose professor gave extensions to students for their research papers in her first-year writing seminar.

Hughner noted that while professors wanted to help with the transition, they were still taking attendance.  

“I keep thinking back to last year when I would have been in Ithaca right now,” Hughner said. “And that’s definitely the preferred experience.”