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Remote Spring Semester allows students to adapt and recognize God’s hand in their educational journeys

A graphic of a female student studying at a desk in front of an iPad.

Following BYU–Hawaii’s announcement of a remote only 2020 Spring Semester, students said they are moving forward and adapting to classes at home or in their places of residence. Students said there are pros and cons to the remote experience and Heavenly Father has made it possible to benefit from the changes brought on by the pandemic.

Kaytano Edeyaoch, a junior from Palau majoring in business management and finance, said, “The first thought I had when … the pandemic [started] was definitely how blessed we are in this day and age to continue with school and work online at home. I also thought of how blessed we are to have a living prophet to guide us through it, especially with home gospel study being started prior to this whole thing.

“A pro to this whole thing is we get to learn about what is most important in this life.” Edeyaoch said the most important things in life revolve around relationships with family, Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ. “I'm sure throughout this whole ordeal, we long to be with our family if we are away, and we are grateful for them if we are with them.

We long to be with our family if we are away, and we are grateful for them if we are with them.
Kaytano Edeyaoch

“Some cons to this time are that even with the best of people coming out with these hard times, the worst does too. Many families and individuals were not prepared, and many lives have been affected negatively. Students, including myself, have gone through some of the most stressful times worrying about where to go and live these past months.”

Edeyaoch said he is taking each day step by step and is counting his blessings. “I'm also grateful for bishops and church leaders who are an extension of Heavenly Father's love. [They] are still devoted to help us during these hard times. I've learned not to worry, to keep my head up and stay positive. We have so many blessings around us, and I've learned to appreciate what I have. Things can always be a lot worse.”

Viviana Olvera, a junior majoring in exercise and sports science from Missouri, said her first impressions were not the best at first. “My first thoughts were pretty negative. I wasn’t excited to be going to online school as it isn’t my favorite. I knew it was a much-needed precaution, and I needed to listen. Quarantine has allowed me to get things done that I haven’t been able to get done before because I didn’t have time.

“It’s been hard, though, because I don’t have much creativity, so it gets pretty boring quick. Work has been affected, and it’s been hard in that aspect. I’ve learned to adapt to it pretty quickly, taking it day by day and just holding on to the hope that one day we can go out again and be able to realize the blessings of being able to be with friends and family.

“It’s been a blessing to see people spend more time together and to see the community come together to help each other out. It has definitely taught me patience and that it is all in the Lord’s time. We never know when it will end, but we all have to do our part and that’s important."

Saruul Ochirbat, a junior majoring in psychology from Mongolia, said he was thankful as he was still able to continue studying. He said the online semester has given him flexibility as there is no need to meet at a specific time for class. “As long as you get your homework done on time, you are good to go.”

Ochirbat said “quarantine time” works quite well for him as he stays at home where he completes his homework and spends the rest of his time reconnecting with God through prayer and meditation. He said he reflects on Christ's counsel in the scriptures and has been trying to make the most out of his time, instead of worrying about things beyond his control.

“I'm so grateful for our beloved prophet, Russell M. Nelson, and all the people at BYUH and PCC who watch over me and [other] students. I feel their love and care for me.”

Mark Rey Bulos, a senior from the Philippines studying business management operations and supply chain, said, “To be honest, we were not worried. We were more affirmative in the decision because it is the right thing to do. I always think of my family's well-being and being able to do it while studying feels right.”

Bulos shared he is hopeful the instructors will be considerate in the amount of work they give to the students because he feels online studying can be hard. He said friends say they have a hard time focusing on remote classes and homework because their children are with them in the house. He said students with young children have the extra responsibility to teach them when they are not at school.

Bulos said this is not the case for him as he enjoys being at home with his family.

“There is no extra work or time traveling. It actually saves more time. So, adapting to it was not bad at all. The school supported us to have a comfortable home and work.

“I was able to find I have more time to be with my baby. She is 9 months old and being there witnessing her milestones is the best story I can tell her when she gets older.”