A unique Fall quarter for Stanford students in China
On behalf of Stanford Center at Peking University, a year-end holiday gathering welcomed both undergrad and graduate students enrolled at Stanford. They had to spend their fall quarter in China due to the pandemic. Students reflected on their experiences and shared their stories about their quarter in China.
The past few months have been the strangest time. It was additionally peculiar for me in that, since I was learning remotely in China, most of my classes took place from midnight to morning. Sitting in front of my laptop each night while the world slumbered around me was difficult. But I also remember the way, from time to time, glimmers of conversations on zoom would absorb me entirely and make me forget I was alone and in the dark. Having met those wonderful people saved me from the coldness of seclusion, and made my quarter so much better:’)
I thought online college would be a disaster, but luckily, I was wrong. The teaching teams made lots of efforts to accommodate to the challenges in online instruction, so the learning experience was still of great quality despite being a different format. Moreover, the communities are amazing! My classmates and the student orgs I joined, especially the Gaieties team, always made my day in the past quarter. Can't wait to continue my journey at Stanford!
This was definitely not how I expected college to start. The empty abyss of those Zoom squares with cameras off, those awkward moments of silence in breakout rooms, those bookmarked school events I didn’t attend: all things that made up my first quarter in college scream “human_interaction == 0”. Added on to my FOMO was the decreasing motivation to talk to people online. Therefore, when I went to Beijing to see my friends for the first time, I felt relieved. “They went through the same struggles I did.” I thought, “I’m with them.” There is a silver lining after all.
I always thought that waking up at 5:00am would be the biggest challenge of online learning. But that becomes trivial when I face the real challenge --- lack of partnership. I remember the many hours stuck on a coding problem, alone; the many days spent looking for online studying buddies who could match my time zone; the many weeks of struggle to keep myself energized by my sheer curiosity of knowledge. It is at the freshman in-person gathering in Beijing that I truly feel my draining energy become to restore by the laughter, compassion, and wittiness of my classmates. It is people who makes Stanford attractive.