Art by Ally Armstrong
For junior Chemistry major Peyton Lee, chemistry labs are completely different.
Last semester, Lee and her peers would perform lab work inside of a laboratory alongside fellow students and a professor. Now, she and her peers must complete their labs at home on their own.
“For physical chemistry, we are doing a bunch of experiments at home that we can do, and then for the rest, we are looking at data or watch videos of the lab being done in its entirety,” Lee said. “In organic chemistry, we are just going to watch the labs being done, record the data and then process it.”
As the semester progresses, Lee and many others are finding ways to translate this new teaching method into their routine. With midterms fast approaching, students are finding ways to adapt their study habits.
“I felt like everything was separate in a good way, but now everything is on my computer — and that’s the part that gets exhausting,” Lee said. “It all feels the same.”
Students change their study habits
Lee said as a result of Zoom, there is a need to make distinctions between tasks, whether it be taking a break or transitioning to a new area of the house.
“I enjoy the coursework I’m doing right now, but it takes me a while to get into the rhythm of studying and doing my work,” said Esther Chung, a first-year graduate student at Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy. “If I take a break, while I intend for it to be 10 minutes, it goes on for, like, two hours.”
Lee said she found that remaining in one room for the entire day causes aches and a feeling of stagnation, leading to a lack of overall motivation. Additionally, sitting in front of the computer all day can lead to exhaustion.
Sophomore Creative Writing and History double major Christine Kuenzi said while she found she has built up a slight resistance to the long hours on the computer, multiple classes in one day can still cause her to feel Zoom fatigue.
“It definitely saps my energy,” Kuenzi said.
Chung said exposure to the computer for long periods of time can lead to headaches and the need to wear blue light glasses more often.
In addition to a lack of energy, Lee said the lack of routine during online schooling has led her to find other ways to maintain normalcy.
“The thing that feels normal for me at this point is doing the school work,” Lee said.
Lee said taking the time to go outside or get a change of scenery is important for staying engaged.
An isolated environment helps students focus, but it makes it harder to conduct peer review and group study sessions, junior Media Production major Rachel Lando said. Group discussions can often help bring clarity to other subjects and offer the opportunity to bond with classmates.
“It hasn’t been fun; there is no community behind it,” Lando said.
Philip Hong, a sophomore at the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, said feelings of isolation affect him more than Zoom fatigue. He said he beats the feelings of isolation by calling rather than texting and using media platforms that allow for video conferencing.
Resources for Students
Cory Robertson, student support coordinator in the Student Success Center and academic coach, said even though studying online can feel removed from campus and other students, there are resources and people willing to help students adjust to the online environment. The Student Success Center has set up multiple programs and resources, such as learning skill workshops to keep students successful despite the difficulties they may be facing.
Robertson said she helps students approach heavy course loads and adjust to the new methods of learning.
“Academic coaching and how we’re doing it through Zoom is more important than ever because it provides that accountability and that opportunity to check in with an academic coach and really take stock of where you are as a student and any adjustments that you might need to make,” Robertson said.
Robertson also helps train students as tutors and coordinates learning skill workshops and videos. These workshops help students learn valuable skills for succeeding in a college setting. The videos are a resource for students who cannot always make meetings, as many of them are recorded, Robertson said.
In the Tutoring Center, Caitlin Scheckel, assistant director of Student Success, works closely with the tutoring process and offers assessments. Scheckel said in the wake of online education, the Tutoring Center arranged sessions for students and utilized Zoom to increase accessibility.
“We’ve worked this past summer to really research the platform — which features it has — and then determine a streamlined process for both the tutors and the students,” Scheckel said.
Scheckel said data received from sites such as Zoom allows the Student Success Center to track interest via attendance. Using the attendance information received, it then notifies students of upcoming tutoring sessions in that class.
Pepperdine Libraries Assist Research
Pepperdine Libraries have also set up a variety of programs to help students adapt. Since the beginning of online school in March, the libraries have been collecting and uploading resources to their website. Dean of Libraries Mark Roosa said one program to help students is the Research Foundations program. Two research librarians run this program, consulting with groups or individual students and offering guidance.
“It’s our goal to meet students where they are to try and be responsive and to give them all that they need in terms of online support, as we get into the fall,” Roosa said.
Students Find Ways to Stay Engaged
Chung said a helpful way to keep track of assignments is by using a calendar or agenda that can be used to block out study times and provide a routine for each day.
In addition to keeping track of assignments, students need to have the energy to do well on them, junior Screen Arts major Kaylee Hoy said.
“For me, it’s just been helpful to make sure I get out of the house — even if it is just going for a walk around the neighborhood and just being active in the time that I don’t have to sit in front of the camera,” Hoy said.
Robertson said she encourages students to remember they are human and to take mental and physical breaks when needed.
“Be kind to yourself and know you will have to make some adjustments,” Robertson said.
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