With classes being offered online this semester, students at the University of Michigan are taking classes from different locations across the country and world, making a significant impact on their college experience.

Business junior Victor Hua is taking classes from his bedroom in Los Angeles this semester. Though taking classes through Zoom makes it easier to participate in smaller groups, Hua said, the recruiting process through the Ross School of Business has been a challenge.

“So, normally the Ross School of Business would invite these recruiters over on campus and you would just meet them in person, which would be a lot easier,” Hua said. “With virtual, it’s a lot harder to interact with people; it’s a lot harder to make an impact which really hurts your chances of winning an internship for the summer.”

Hua said the time difference is not as bad as some of his friends who are international students.

“I just suck it up and wake up early,” Hua said. “But some of my friends in Hong Kong are pretty much on a flipped schedule, where they’re waking up at 1 a.m. and going to class all night and then sleeping through the day.”

Hua said he was considering moving back to Ann Arbor at the end of September, but decided otherwise after the spike in COVID cases towards the end of last month.

“I was actually supposed to head back at the end of September, but that’s when s–t hit the fan and COVID started spreading like wildfire and I thought yeah, no I’m not risking it and I don’t want permanent lung damage,” Hua said. “So I decided to stay back home. Honestly, for most people it (staying at home) won’t be too much of a difference.”

LSA junior Claire Goods started taking classes from Buffalo, N.Y. before moving back to Ann Arbor at the beginning of October. She said taking classes from home did not feel like a meaningful or personal college experience and that being back in Ann Arbor helps her study better.

“There was no motivation or sense of community at home, and it all felt like a break,” Goods said. “Even though now (in Ann Arbor) I only see my roommates, just walking around campus and seeing people of my own age group was really nice.”

Goods said asynchronous lectures have increased the workload for all her classes.

“The workload has definitely increased,” Goods said. “The instructors expect us to watch asynchronous lectures before class and when we would have class would be a discussion.”

Engineering sophomore Jiayi Shen is taking classes from Washington state. Though he said asynchronous lectures give him the flexibility to finish classes early, remote learning is difficult and it’s harder to focus and retain information.

“Taking classes at home, I get really tempted to watch lectures in bed, or be in a place that’s comfortable makes me tend to drift off a little bit,” Shen said. “I prefer in person because it helps having people right next to me to keep me focused.”

Shen said some classes transitioned well online compared to others.

“I think I would have had a better experience on campus because one of the classes I’m taking is film, and it’s really weird with the separate filming and also filming together,” Shen said. “I’m definitely excited to go back to campus next semester, hopefully.”

Daily Staff Reporter Varsha Vedapudi can be reached at varshakv@umich.edu. 

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