Just before spring quarter, Pierce College closed its doors to the public due to the advances of COVID-19.
Despite the closure, college staff and students have continued working from home. Pierce College student-employees Rosalie Masterjohn and Jannah Hinthorne are no exception.
“To be completely transparent, staying home has been really difficult,” Masterjohn said. “Not being able to meet with my team in person, who I also consider my good friends, is frustrating and I’ve had days where I feel extremely discouraged. Zoom calls and emails just aren’t the same as squishing four people onto one couch for team meetings or simply eating lunch together during shared breaks.”
Masterjohn is the Office of Student Life’s Vice President of Clubs and Organizations. She’s worked at Pierce College since the summer of 2018. Her job is to oversee all the student organizations and clubs on campus with the rest of the Clubs Board.
She sits on the Student Council as a voting member and the liaison between clubs and the Student Council. Her weekly meetings with the Clubs Board consist of updates on assignments, delegating new tasks and planning any quarterly all-club events.
Normally, the Office of Student Life would be busy helping students with their logins and printing new IDs due to the introduction of ctcLink. However, because Pierce College has shifted into an online environment, things are much slower.
According to Masterjohn, there’s been a significant drop in event participation.
“Now that we are online and events are virtual, students don’t happen upon events or maybe they don’t have access to our virtual content,” she said. “I know for myself, clubs have really taken a hit.”
There were roughly 25 clubs nearing the end of the winter quarter. Now Masterjohn considers herself lucky if she can get a single club to email her back.
“I can’t blame any of them,” she added. “Right now is an unprecedented circumstance, one that I assume many of them haven’t ever experienced. They’re right to focus on their personal lives.”
Since a number of the Office of Student Life’s services were dependent on being on-campus, Masterjohn said the most she can do is offer virtual outlets for students.
“We have created what we call the ‘Rant Room’ in the OSL Canvas and also some surveys to find out student needs,” Masterjohn commented. “Specifically, we have a survey up for the Food and Hygiene Pantry Pickup Program that students can fill out with items they need so we know what to purchase and prepare for them. Still, though, we are actively pursuing and trying to expand how we support our students in a virtual space.”
Jannah Hinthorne is a Pierce College writing tutor. She’s been working at the Writing Center since the beginning of the 2019 winter quarter.
“As a writing tutor at Pierce, my main job is to meet with students and help them work through any and every part of the writing process,” Hinthorne said. “As an embedded tutor, I also act as an ‘extra teacher’ during class time.”
Hinthorne helps students create outlines, build resumes, revise and edit essays and put together works cited pages.
During Hinthorne’s current shifts, she spends her time meeting with students online for consultations, sitting in on Zoom meetings (for the English class in which she’s an embedded tutor) or staging mock consultations.
When she has actual consultations with students, they meet virtually on the WC Online platform. She goes through the same process with students as it would occur face-to-face. WC Online is an online scheduling system used to book, edit, reschedule, and cancel Writing Consultations and Academic Tutoring appointments.
“A lot of the time spent at home has been used to create a ‘new normal,’ and I enjoy filling my extra time with things that I never had the opportunity to do before while I was running around from place to place,” Hinthorne said. “I finally have time to read that massive collection of Eudora Welty stories that have been on my shelf for months.”
According to Hinthorne, a number of students at the beginning of the quarter may not have been aware that the writing center had moved online and has been working hard with the center to spread the news.
“We understand that this quarter has not been easy for any of us, and writing classes are especially struggling,” Hinthorne said. “Not to mention, all of us are wading through the additional stress and anxiety that comes with this unprecedented pandemic we are living through. But the truth is that we should never write alone. This is a trying time for every one of us, but we are in this together. The Writing Center hasn’t left, and we’re here for students more than ever.”
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