Since the College’s official decision on March 11 to move classes to a remote learning format, the Bowdoin academic landscape has changed. Nearly every facet of our academic experience has shifted and not necessarily for the better—our classrooms, our meeting times and even our course material look markedly different than they did three weeks ago.
As headlines seem to get bleaker every day, it’s difficult to stay focused on schoolwork. Studying from home presents different issues for different students—some don’t have a quiet place to work, some are in a different time zone, some don’t have WiFi and some have to take care of their family members.
Because of these differences and possible future complications from the coronavirus pandemic, there have been many structural changes to classes: the College has instituted a Credit/No Credit grading policy, classes have shifted to an online format and most courses have undergone sweeping changes to their syllabi. For a college that prides itself on building strong academic communities and fostering close relationships between students and professors, we all feel this loss.
However, amidst this chaos, we must remember that we are not the only ones presented with unforeseen challenges and difficult circumstances. Professors are likewise being forced to adapt, and it can be easy for us to overlook the immense weight on their shoulders as we navigate changes to our own personal lives.
Professors have had to alter spring break plans and entirely restructure their courses, cancel conferences, learn new technology and put their research on hold. Most have done so while taking care of their children or attending to their parents and other family members. They too are trying to find a sense of normalcy and mediate the emotional and physical impact of social isolation.
With this semester’s suspension of letter grades, there is a definite temptation to prioritize other things over work. And sometimes, that’s what we need to do. But in a moment that has forced us to redefine our academic experience, the best way to acknowledge the work that professors are doing to accommodate us is to do our part as students.
Put in the effort that they are putting in. To the extent that you are able, continue to show up to your classes, engage with your course material and go to virtual office hours. Do your work.
Even beyond appreciating their leadership in virtual classrooms, remember that faculty are a part of the Bowdoin community as well. Reach out to them, check in with them, remain considerate and engaged. Professors have made an effort to be there for us, so for the rest of the semester, let’s be there with them.
This editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Emily Cohen, Maia Coleman, Julia Jennings, Sabrina Lin, Eliana Miller, Alyce McFadden, Rebecca Norden-Bright and Jaret Skonieczny.