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Q&A with Fariza Hassan

June 26, 2020

Majors: Psychology and Sociology of Law, Criminology & Deviance
Year in school: Senior

How did your classes change to accommodate distance learning and other needs? What worked well for you? What do you miss about being on campus?

Though it wasn't how I expected my junior year to end, I am grateful for having such caring and supportive professors and staff members to have helped ease the transition into online learning during these uncertain times. Many of my classes adopted either a Zoom-based replacement for in-person lectures and discussions while a number of [other classes] switched to posting lectures on Canvas with corresponding classwork. I found the latter to work well for me due to the ability to watch lectures and complete the classwork on my own time.

I miss getting to walk around campus and see others the most! My favorite time of the school year is always the transition from cold winters to warm and sunny spring seasons and getting to enjoy being outside around campus. I miss walking the Washington Avenue bridge on a sunny day and hanging out with friends on the Northrop Mall lawn!

What are some ways your instructors, advisors, peers, and/or others at the U have supported and encouraged you during this time?

The support at the U during the current situation has been unwavering and always supportive. I am thankful to have such kind professors who are understanding of the difficulties of transitioning to solely online learning. The most meaningful interactions I've had with instructors and advisors during this time are the simple reminders of support and care that they constantly provided throughout the end of the semester.

I would like to especially thank Professor Elizabeth Heger Boyle, Professor Joel Samaha, Professor Evan Roberts, my CLA ambassador advisors Annie Lux Goebel and Chaia Xiong, and my Middlebrook CA supervisors Jie Zhao and Mick Castro for all being such amazing and kind leading figures during this past semester. Thank you all for your care and understanding!

How does your liberal arts education inform how you think about what’s going on?

In this time where everything feels uncertain and differing opinions circulate around the news and into our lives, I find myself using my skills of perspective gained through my liberal arts education. There are many different opinions regarding the COVID-19 situation and how it is being handled both across the country and the world, and I am grateful to use this liberal arts advantage of stepping back to gather all information available to me before coming to my own personal ideas regarding the situation at hand.

What are you doing to care for your physical and mental health these days? How are you staying connected with others?

Some days are harder than others, but I find myself discovering new projects and activities to tackle while at home to keep myself busy! I have picked up on activities like knitting and painting when I'm looking to relax. When I'm feeling lonely, I usually reach out to friends and family through video chats and other forms of social media.

What inspires you? What advice or encouragement would you like to share with others?

One thing that inspires me throughout all the uncertainty and fear in these times is the idea that we're all in this together. Although sometimes it feels like I am alone in this situation and how I feel about it, I remember that this is affecting everyone and that the only way we can come out of this all is by working together!

Some advice I have for others that I have been trying to implement myself also would be to try and focus on the good things in your life right now rather than the bad. It's easy to let the fear of not knowing what's next creep in and cloud your mind every day, but it's also possible to focus your attention on what you can make out of the situation at hand. Whether it's spending more time with family or spending more time on yourself, find what helps you make the most out of your time!

What have you learned about yourself through this experience? Has it helped you focus on what’s important to you?

With all this extra time at home, I have done a lot more self-searching! I've come to find out more about what I enjoy doing with my time, how to better manage myself, and figure out new things about myself and what makes me happy. One thing I'm glad to have come out of this whole situation is this chance at self improvement that many of us fail to make time for in our normal day-to-day lives. I have gotten to know myself better and figure out my priorities for both the time being and for after this whole pandemic dies down, which has been super helpful!

This story is part of a larger series. Read more at Students Reflect on a Semester of Distance Learning.