Kean University now, more than ever is working together to continue as normal in the midst of an ever-changing time. With the transition online, students are highly affected academically and socially as they are conducting their day to day lives from home now. Kean students and university departments are each coping with these transitions in their own ways.
Leanne Laurino, junior theatre major with teacher certification and a minor in voice, discussed the transition to online classes as a voice student, as well as recent cancellations that have affected her participation in theatre production.
"The transition to online classes has challenged my at-home educational discipline. I have had to be my own best friend and worst enemy because it is so easy to binge-watch, sleep, and chat the day away," she continued, "All of my theatre professors have switched to online classes enthusiastically, using either Blackboard or Zoom. I have also been able to keep up with my voice lessons by having an hour Zoom meeting each week. A few of my professors have chosen the format of communicating through email and providing written assignments to take the place of virtual meetings."
Overall, Laurino is welcoming the circumstance as a new experience, and a way to better herself and become her own biggest motivator.
"Personally, this transition has given me the opportunity to spend more time with my family, which I am extremely grateful for. I, luckily, am able to participate in my theatre work study position at home, which has been a positive transition. Sadly, all of my creative projects for this semester that I was either performing in, assistant stage managing or acting as a playwright in have either been canceled or postponed with an unknown future. Fortunately, the ghost light never goes out in the heart of an artist as we will carry on," Laurino said.
Similarly, Kean Ocean junior psychology major Gabrielle Cooley has been handling the transition to online schooling as gracefully as possible, recognizing it as an adjustment that can be made with planning and communication with professors.
"It has been a weird transition to everything being completely online, but since my classes utilized Blackboard a lot for assignments and PowerPoints, it hasn’t been that different in that aspect," Cooley said. "The video calls are new, and getting used to staring at the computer for longer periods of time has been an adjustment, but I am managing to find a routine, which will hopefully make it easier."
Aside from being a psychology major at Kean Ocean, Cooley falls into the essential worker category, as many students do. Many students, like Cooley, do not have the opportunity to stay home completely when making their schedule for taking their classes and handing in their assignments.
"It really helps to have a planner or calendar, to write down when all of the assignments are due and [to keep to] a schedule. Even doing assignments in parts, whenever you have time, helps keep you productive. Also, reaching out to professors has really helped, because we are all trying our best to figure out how to go about the rest of the semester," said Cooley.
Many of Kean University's departments and student resources have also been switching online as a way to maintain normalcy and continue on. Offices like the Center for Leadership and Service; Involvement Center; Career Services; Counseling Alcohol and Other Drug Services, Academic Accommodations & Disability Services; the Nancy Thompson Learning Commons; Student Success & Retention Services; Tutoring Services; Writing Center; Public Speaking Lab; One-Stop; Registrar; Financial Aid; Scholarship Services; Admissions and more are all still open and available to assist students during this time. All of the contact information and more resources for students can be found on the Kean University Website under the current and prospective students resources link.
As Laurino advises students during this time, "We will all get through this. Stay home, stay safe, wash your hands and find at least one happy moment every day!"
Carry on, Cougars.