While their familiar classrooms sit empty in Northwest Florida, PCC students around the globe have been settling into new routines as they find the silver linings of finishing the spring semester from home with family.
As the youngest of her siblings, Audrey Betz (SD) has enjoyed being able to spend quality time with her parents while doing classes at home. However, as a senior studying music, she and her teacher have had to adjust her piano recital. “Instead of the live performance, my teacher videoed my recital check that I had before I left for home, and I am going to be posting the video to my Facebook page as well as YouTube,” she said. “I wanted to still be able to share it with everyone, because it is what I have been excited for and working for since my freshman year.”
In spite of her semester of sudden change, Audrey has seen God continue to work in her life. “Just yesterday, I got accepted to come back this fall as a GA (graduate assistant),” she said. “I am thankful that God has worked in my life even through these incredibly difficult situations, and I am so excited to hear about the ways God has worked in other people’s lives through this.”
As a professional writing student, Cainan Philips (Sr., RI) has seen several of his classes transform after transitioning to online. “In Advanced Copy Editing (PW 404), we edit the upcoming pieces for Fountains,” the annual student publication. “While on campus, we, the editors, had easy access to and communication with the authors we were working with,” he said. “With such a major project like we were working on, face-to-face communication is much better, but the whole Fountains staff has worked hard to adapt. Despite all the changes, I am thankful that I have still been given the opportunity to finish my degree.”
Zoey Arel (Sr., NH) found that finishing a lecture and moving on to that course’s assignment has helped her remain consistent. At the same time, she misses the in-person classroom experience, but she’s kept a good perspective. “A lot of my friends and I have group chats and sometimes we video chat when we have time. My friends from my writing classes and I have a group chat where we keep in touch and help each other,” she said. “In a way, the online Chapel brings students from all over the world together. We can all hop online at the same time, or at different times, and know that, no matter what, we’re still getting the same truths from God’s Word.”
As a student director in Introduction to Dramatic Production (SP 307), Nathan Carlson (Jr., AZ) found that leaving before his cast could have their full performance was the most difficult part of the transition. So, in the days before everyone left campus, “We had a small performance for the cast’s sake as well as for maybe twenty friends and family members,” he said. “The play I was directing was the thing which took the most of my time and the thing that I really enjoyed this semester. However, it wasn’t pointing lights or building sets that I really loved. It was my cast, my classmates, the TAs (teacher assistants), and our instructor that made the entire project as enjoyable as it was.”
The long journey home came sooner than Rebecca Ramsey (Sr., MA) was expecting, but if travel became more difficult, she knew she wanted to be with her family. “Before I knew it, I was wheeling my four-year’s worth of junk out of Dixon, playing Tetris with the bins in the back of the vehicle, and watching PCC fade into a speck behind me,” she said.
Although disappointed that her final semester was cut short, Rebecca has found comfort in trusting God through this unusual time. “When I glance at the back of my senior class T-shirt at the names listed there, I see how many other PCC students have striven to reach the end only to have their schedules and plans changed dramatically. And not just PCC students—students around the world are battling with this transition,” she explained. “Despite our concerns, God is still in control. While this transition was unexpected to us, God was always aware of it, and He will bring us through it. We’ll just keep praying.”
Francis Bruno (Jr., ME) has enjoyed the flexibility of his online classes. “I usually try to get classes done in the morning/afternoon and leave the evenings free for studying and spending time with family. Since I can watch any lecture at any time, if I know I have a day with a lot of projects and quizzes due, I’ll try to get that day’s class lectures done early so I can focus on studying and projects,” he said. “My parents know that I’m in the last part of the semester, so they’ve been extremely gracious about it. They basically leave me alone to work on my classes, and they just stick their head in from time to time to make sure I’m alive.”
While the transition to online learning was quick and the trip home sooner than expected, students have adjusted well as they continue to press on and strive to finish the spring semester strong. Since the first day of online classes, many have echoed thoughts similar to Nathan Carlson’s when sharing about their experiences.
“I appreciate everything the College has done to make this as smooth of a transition as possible,” Nathan said. “For having our worlds turned completely upside-down, PCC has helped it feel less panicked and stressed and more like simply a new adventure.”