During the Spring semester of 2021, our classes remained entirely online as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In turn, our capstone project was a much different process than it would have been in person. Due to the timing of our Capstone and Capstone preparation course, both were entirely virtual experiences. On the other hand, we had also had a few months of practice with exclusively online school from when CSUCI made the change part-way through last Spring semester. This meant by the time we started our capstone preparation, we had already begun to acclimate to the climate of distanced learning.
One aspect of our project that was different as a result was the communication. Both of us were able to transition to online communication to substitute in-person discussion. In the process, Zoom meetings became the norm and we did our best to return to a level of productivity that matched our previous heights as quickly as possible. Though the partnership in our capstone project created an extra barrier of communication compared to those who tackled their capstone solo, we felt that we quickly overcame this challenge.
The Capstone project was not the only coursework that was impacted by COVID-19. All of our other classes being online was a difficult adjustment to make. Even though the content is nearly the same as it would have been in person, it was immensely difficult to overcome the perception of the class. More specifically, throughout our time at university, we have gone to a physical location where we learn new things. The mental connection between the rooms of Sierra Hall and learning were very strong indicators that kept us focused on our goals of education. Although our determination to succeed in our quest for knowledge never wavered, the loss of this association with a room where we learn tested our ability and focus in a way dissimilar from all of the previous trials we had overcome in our education. This extra energy spent to continue advancing in all of our coursework definitely took a toll on the time we had to spend on our capstone. There was no avoiding this reality but we managed our best efforts despite the circumstances to put forth our best work.
Beyond the classroom, COVID-19 has caused turmoil within our personal lives. Ultimately a student’s success in education is not an isolated affair. The life of a student outside of the classroom can affect their ability to succeed just as much as what happens in the classroom. While we couldn’t control these events, we did our best to manage them effectively and continue work on our project in the meantime.
Despite the incessant grasp of COVID-19 on the state of the world, we endeavored to rise to the challenge. While it may seem unfortunate that perhaps we may have been able to reach greater heights without the setback of the pandemic, we strove to make the best of the situation. Instead, we learned a lesson in grit and adaptation that we’ll hold in our memory as we move on to graduate school and industry.