How Physics Students Thrive in a Pandemic

March of 2020, many students waited with bated breath to know what BYU would do about the growing pandemic. Then came the announcement from President Worthen that BYU would close for a few days to go online. Instantly, many students returned home, study groups moved online or found another way to meet, and courses changed dramatically. In a way, the lives of students divulged into a strange form of chaos.

Naturally there was uncertainty about how long the pandemic would continue, leaving many students to question when classes would return to normal. Students who struggled to adapt to online classes longed for the return of in-person classes, but those who enjoyed the comfort of home championed the new online course structure. As semesters came to a close, graduation ceremonies went online which left the introverts ecstatic and the extroverts dejected. The majority of graduates watched the ceremony proceedings online while celebrating at home with their close family.

Today, students continue to deal with the issues related to the pandemic, but have learned to thrive despite the challenges. Zoom and distance learning has become the norm, and some even enjoy it more than in-person learning. Senior Physics student Nick Porter says “I like that I can attend class, do homework, and usually even take tests from the same desk. It lets me create a sort of ‘study zone.’” Many professors have adapted virtual classes to allow students unique social experiences. Randomly generated break out rooms allow students to meet new people that they might not have connected with in person. Even though students have learned to thrive, the promise of the vaccine and getting back to in-person learning is a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. 

(Student contributors Kenan Fronk, Gabe Richardson, and Kat Burke)