The new normal – Day 13

March 29, 2020

Erick Amaya, Staff Writer

Editor’s note: “The new normal” is a continuing series that looks into how members of the Los Medanos College community are coping with a shelter-in-place order amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Belem Naranjo is a second-year history student who will be graduating Los Medanos College this May.

 The adjustment of social distancing has affected her education because her six classes have transitioned from in-person to online instruction. 

Naranjo’s initial reaction on hearing the news about the move to online teaching and learning was concern, because she feels she doesn’t do well with online classes, and confusion because she heard different information from different people, including her instructors.

“I wasn’t sure what was the truth,” she said. “It was all so sudden and confusing.”

For Naranjo, the transition was stressful because her midterms were pushed back a week and scheduled during the first week of the transition to remote instruction. “I had to learn the rest of the material on my own, and take three midterms,” she said. 

Naranjo feels at ease when learning material for her two history classes as she can discuss the material with her sister, who is also enrolled in those same two classes. 

“We keep each other in check with the assignments, and we’re in the same group, so that really helps,” she said. 

Beside having to figure out her new routine, Naranjo also has to assist her three younger siblings in their education since her parents are not fluent in English. 

“I’ve been helping [my siblings] with their homework, and trying to create a normal schedule for them at home, where they can do a little bit of everything like in school,” she said.

Having to help her sibling with their assignments forces Naranjo to have a consistent schedule and having to focus on her education in her spare time. “Those are my biggest responsibilities, so I have to make sure I do them well,” said Naranjo. 

With this being her final semester at LMC, Naranjo finds it stressful that she cannot access her instructors before class, after class, and during office hours.

“I’m taking 18 units, and the last thing I expected was to [be forced] to take all my classes online,” she said. “I like being able to ask them questions and having them explain to me. Email is not the same.”