My First Year at MacDuffie As A Remote Learner

Bob Fan, Staff Writer


    Hello everyone, I am Bob Fan, a freshman at The MacDuffie School. As we know, 2020 was not a normal year, as COVID-19 has plagued throughout the world. This means that I, alongside my fellow classmates, have to study remotely. I have faced a lot of challenges during my first year of remote learning at MacDuffie, so let’s go over a few of them.

Language Barriers

   Language mastery is the biggest challenge that I have met, and I think it is also a big challenge that every international first-year remote student will meet. I have to say, as an international student, the first year of school is the most important year for us freshmen, and the language is the most difficult problem we will meet. The amount of time I have to practice English is much less than I would have ever thought during this year. As you can imagine, studying English for 12 hours is much better than 4 hours, and if I turn the “hours” in this sentence to “hours/day”, then the disparity is great. Luckily, ELL lessons can help mitigate this problem a little bit. 

Unstable Network Connections can sometimes drive me mad.

    The quality of our network connections are a common problem. It will not only happen to freshmen, but to every remote student, especially those remote students in China. It won’t be there every time, but it will suddenly appear while you are not thinking of it at all.

    Suppose you are taking a test. You find that the test is super easy, and you can figure out all the questions without any difficulty. You almost finish it! You are going to submit it, and you are pretty sure that you can get a score which is higher than 90%, even a 100%! Oops, there is something wrong with your internet!

     Now you won’t get a full grade. Instead, you will get an “overdue” and a zero on the test. How do you feel about it? Oh yes, wait a minute, if you are in China, you need a VPN to login to the Blackbaud or anything based on google—a firewall will deny every access request from Google. VPN’s also have their own set of problems, such as charging and security issues. However, there is one problem that all VPN’s share: they are unstable. It only takes 2 seconds to open it on Sunday, and it is also reliable on Tuesday during the whole class, but it will disconnect without any warning when you need it.

Independent Living Issues

    The third issue is arguably not as bad as the previous two problems, but it is still a loss for the remote students. Why is independent living ability so important? Because it is not only an easier and more efficient way to study, but it is also something that we are put to the test when we live on campus. Only when we live by ourselves, can we manage everything without parents’ help. We have to deal with all kinds of problems, which is absolutely a necessary skill. Even my grandmother can’t say that she has mastered independent living. It’s a pity that I’m still at home, but I will try my best to manage all my things by myself. The good news is, I won’t have as much pressure as I would if I lived on campus.

    Although there are so many difficulties in my way, I don’t have any other choice but to defeat them. On the other hand, it is a little hard for me to become a remote student, but there is not all bad news. For example, we have more time to stay with our families! Facing a couple of problems and getting over them is also a part of school life. Forget those bad experiences and enjoy every problem you meet. That is the best way to be a student!