The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Unpacking a car will happen at some point

According to a survey sent out by the College Counseling Office, 65 percent of students are taking online courses currently and 16 percent are taking classes on campus [Natalie Scheidel/The Blue & Gold].

When students graduate from TAS, most had this expectation of what their college experience will look like. It is often hard to set aside that vision for yourself. However, with the pandemic, the Class of 2020 is forced to do so. 
Mrs. Melanie Hamre, Director of College Counseling, sent out a survey in August, in which 58 students from the Class of 2020 completed. From that small sample size, only 5 reported they were currently doing something different from what they indicated before they graduates on May: 2 are taking a gap year, 2 are attending universities in Japan or Singapore (systems which admit and enroll on a later cycle, so this is expected each year), and 1 got off the waitlist and chose to attend that school instead. 29% of respondents indicated that they have been taking online courses amidst the pandemic; 36% indicated that their school is adopting a hybrid model (online for now, in person later this year, hopefully), and 16% traveled to their college campuses this fall.
Genevieve Chan: 
For many students and families, the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has posed many challenges. Students have had to decide whether to go to college in-person, to attend virtually, or to defer. “The Class of 2020 is experiencing the worst part of all of this – the uncertainty,” Mrs. Hamre said.
However, despite the pandemic, Genevieve Chan (‘20) is on the campus of Emory University, Georgia as a double major in Dance and Biology. After researching the state of the pandemic in Atlanta and Emory’s campus regulations, Genevieve fought to go to college in person and engaged in a heated debate with her parents. “I am majoring in dance, and you really can’t do dance over zoom. You have to physically be there,” she said. Although there were a plethora of concerns surrounding her decision, her family eventually relented.
On her way over to Atlanta, Genevieve wore hazmat suit and a N-95 mask. “Everyone else seemed chill wearing a cotton mask, so I felt out of place,” she said. Arriving in Atlanta, Genevieve was instructed to get tested before she could enter campus and move into her single-room dorm. All students were told to go by car, get tested, and wait in the car to receive a phone call. “The process was extremely smooth and convenient,” she said.
At Emory, there were a multitude of other restrictions. For example, in the dining hall, there are indicators on the floor to create physical space between the students. However, Genevieve was able to meet some of her friends she met online. “I was walking into a cafe and I saw someone that I’ve talked to online before and we just recognized each other even with our masks on and started talking,” she said. So far, Genevieve has not had a lot of interaction with other students on campus, so seeing familiar faces from social media always brightens up her days. 
“I think I would’ve missed out on a lot of things if I had stayed in Taiwan,” Genevieve said, “Just being here and being more independent and learning by yourselves feels very different from just zooming in Taiwan and still being in your comfort zone.
It goes without saying that higher education and traditional college experience is going to be forever changed. The Class of 2020 were faced with unknowns, uncertain of what to do and when to do it. However, with the uncertainty of college life, “the most important thing is to acknowledge it will be different and be reminded that at some point there will be that moment of unpacking a car, meeting a new roommate, et cetra.” Mrs. Hamre said. 

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