Editor’s Note: Over the course of the semester, we will be sharing stories from students highlighting how they continue to engage with experiential learning even while away from campus. If you would like to share your experience with remote learning, please contact email@example.com.
By Emma Powell ’20
Remote learning has defined my life by mostly losses, but my one gain is time. I suddenly have what seems like a limitless time to do school work but also take a second to explore my passions in an environment where I can discern and ask myself, “What actions make you and only you happy?” As a decidedly extroverted person the alone time is difficult. This personality quality means I need to share my thoughts with others in order to feel balanced. I would go as far as to say it is required for my productivity level. It is difficult to focus without those coffee breaks where I chat with friends in Cool Beans.
I have wracked my brain on how to feel that void. My typical schedule would be filled with meetings, classes, and friends. The only time I spent alone on campus was to nap or do homework. I have kept in touch with my friends but facetime calls only do so much. The first week of social distancing was tough. The ongoing events were a weight on my heart and mind. I felt like screaming but instead, I wrote out a reflection for a web page Professor Hooper created for my seminar to not only share content but archive it in the context of this unprecedented historical moment. This pandemic will go down in the history books and my grandchildren will certainly ask me about it. The blog piece felt so good to write. I shared the article with The Spire, in hopes other students could empathize and relate to what I was going through.
In writing that reflection, I rediscovered something I had not done since I was a child: to write purely for the sake of writing. It was cathartic, productive, and simply made me happy.
Recently, I read an op-ed in the Atlantic about how local papers are understaffed, underfunded, and under-resourced in facing this pandemic. In writing that reflective piece, I craved to write more and to write with purpose. So now, I am writing an article on nurses and other healthcare professionals in my local community. My hope is the article will be published in a local paper so the state of Massachusetts and perhaps even higher government powers can more fully recognize just what my mother and other nurses are going through.
I want to identify myself as an activist but this is difficult to do while unable to take physical action outside my tiny bedroom. My try at journalism is an experiment to channel my energy into a space for change. Like Professor Hooper has done in our class, I encourage Holy Cross students to sit down and write about issues that matter to their community. For those just starting out (like myself), I recommend utilizing “medium” which is a free and respected writing platform for anyone wanting to write more publicly but does not want to pay for a URL for their own website. The platform also has a lot of interesting articles from students and journalists all over the country so it provides a virtual sense of community. Then from there, you can submit it to a local paper in hopes it gets published. Local papers live for community members’ perspectives. If you feel called to, use this time to write not only for fun and self-reflection, but to use your ideas for a platform for change all from the comfort of your couch.