Q&A with Elizabeth Sirianni

Photo of Elizabeth Sirianni

Major: Philosophy
Year in school: Senior

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

Most of my classes are pretty discussion based, which is very difficult to facilitate online. Some classes attempted to continue this via Zoom, and some really just gave up. Many of my classes cut assignments and made it easier to manage because the professor knew the stress that students were under. I definitely miss the in-person interaction that campus classes provided as it is interesting to hear other students' perspectives.

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

My peers who have pushed the U to create more empathetic policies in regards to grading at this time are amazing. I also think the professors who are understanding of the huge variety of difficult circumstances right now and made adjustments accordingly are true examples of great educators. From people getting sick and losing loved ones to people being in a time zone on the other side of the world, it is important to recognize the unexpected struggles that students are experiencing right now.

What is something you learned in college that has helped you interpret what you are experiencing and reading about in the news?

This semester I had the opportunity to take a women's health and reproduction class that was unrelated to my major. In this class, there was a focus on reproductive justice in America, which has helped me have a different perspective toward some of the actions taken in the health care system, including some of the potential halts to abortion services, deeming them "unessential." It is important that our rights are not abandoned during this crisis.

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

I think it is important to get daily exercise, especially something outside. This is crucial for both physical and mental health. Additionally, especially now that the semester is ending, it is crucial to find a hobby. While binging Netflix is fun for awhile, it can definitely be too much of a good thing.

[Regarding communicating with others,] stay in touch with friends, find a show to screen-share over Zoom, and talk about your situations; it's important to stay connected.

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

I know that this won't last forever, and we as a people will need to be there to pick up the pieces when it's over. That is why we need to remain strong and resilient now so that later we can build a better future.

What have you learned about yourself through this experience? Has this realization changed your short- or long-term plans?

I learned that I am more creative than I thought if given the time and space. I will definitely attempt to continue to make time and space for myself to continue those passions.

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