It is funny to think about how two and a half years ago, I made the decision to switch to online school—not because of a global pandemic—but because I simply wanted to. Nearing the end of my sophomore year in public high school, I made the decision to homeschool for the last two years for multiple reasons. As enjoyable as homeschool was, and the flexibility it entailed, I was very ready to switch back to in-person learning when I started my college career, so having to be online again was a disappointment. I will not deny the fact that distanced learning is not the same as in-person classes, but there are a myriad of reasons to still be grateful and glad for online school during this COVID season.

As I briefly mentioned, I went into Biola’s online, fall semester with a bit of disappointment, but I have been pleasantly surprised with the amount of effort and care put into my classes by the professors and faculty! Biola has efficiently utilized the summer break to enhance the student’s learning experience despite everyone being dispersed across the globe. I was surprised with the endurance of the community, and how it can still be built and pursued via technology, which is a blessing in itself.

For those that may not know, I am a freshman Studio Art Major at Biola, so about half of my classes this semester are art classes! This aspect of my education is probably the most affected by remote-learning; most art classes are three hour sessions that are used for instruction/lecture/critique from the professor as well as studio time for students to work together on their assignments. Because we are not on-campus, the opportunity to be together and create art has had to be abandoned. However, I must say that one perk of online art classes is that most of them are not actually reaching the three-hour mark; instead of working on assignments together, professors allow the students to independently work off-camera, because a three-hour Zoom call would be a bit unbearable. In that way, Biola online mimics my experience with online high school, in how there is more flexibility available.

At the end of the day, I do wish that I could start off my freshman year of college in-person. I’ve been learning to accept the current circumstances by choosing to be grateful in this time. As I mentioned earlier, community via technology is such a blessing that has made this pandemic much more bearable than if it were even a hundred years ago. I’m thankful that I’m still able to pursue a college degree amidst this socio-economic turmoil. I’m thankful for the extra amount of time I get to spend with my family and cats because I haven’t moved out. I’m sure most of you can relate to this as well. Some of you lovely readers may be seniors, and I completely understand what a bummer it is to finish your last year of high school separate from all your friends and teachers you have come to love. Please know that I, along with my fellow Ambassadors, are here to support and celebrate you amidst all the uncertainty! I pray that each and every one of you will be able to see God’s goodness and His plan for you during this transitional time, and that you will find the small nuggets of happiness and savor them.