Mountains, Dartmouth, Simon Ellis
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Pease Modern American Drama

Given that Dartmouth is going completely online for Spring class instruction, I thought I would talk about my first day using online classes and staying connected during these extraordinary times. Obviously I was really sad to hear that Dartmouth had made the decision to go online for my last term ever at the school, but at the same time that decision was and is backed up by a lot of information regarding what is best for the health of the Dartmouth community at large, and truth be told I cannot imagine being away from my family during this time now that I am home. I sat down this morning after eating breakfast with my mom and set up my new classroom, in my dining room, complete with a computer stand and my notebook. While a lot of things are changing and it's difficult to find some constants, having class on that first day made everything feel a little bit more secure and grounded.

At first, I was not totally sure about how to use Zoom or how classes would work. One of my favorite parts about education at Dartmouth has been the ability to take tons of classes with as few as 5-10 people, and the idea of taking classes that now had to be virtual where I would not be able to see the professor in person scared me. When I logged on to my first class (a few hours early because of my time-zone difference), I discovered that the experience was shockingly similar. My professor was able to connect with the students by asking us individual questions, utilizing different features of the online platform we were using by breaking us into small groups and conducting polls, and his lecture was exactly what I could have expected from actually being in a class with him. Our professors have clearly made a huge effort in making sure that the quality of our education remains as high as it can given the circumstances, and that showed clearly even on the first day.

Going forward, I know I might have to study in a different way or do my work in unconventional locations and times, but all any of us can do right now is really focus on what we can control. I came to Dartmouth to get a world-class education, and while that education might look different, as it's through a computer screen, it just takes work on everyone's part to continue that quality and roll with the punches. I am so excited to see how this term plays out, and while I am sad that I am losing my last term on campus, I am so happy to have the grounding force and routine of classes back and to see my friends face, even virtually, "sitting next to me" on my computer. 

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