What is Happening During Quarantine at Berkeley?

Global Ambassador Fengzhe Shi shares how he has transitioned from in-person to remote learning!

In January 2020, I had just arrived in California when I heard about the widespread outbreak of COVID-19. Later in March, I was told that the class would be turned into remote learning. One year later as I type this sentence, I remember that very day when I received the email about “Zoom University.”

I never thought it would be the last time that I would sit in the classroom with other students and listen to a lecture in person. The lifestyle has been different since that day. Instead of going to classrooms, restaurants and the Recreational Sports Facility (RSF), I am now spending all day on Zoom, going to Costco and exercising with the barbells in my living room.

A Day in the Life as Newly Remote International Student

A typical weekday during the quarantine would be as follows: I wake up around 9:00 am, grab a piece of toast and start with checking emails and agendas. It is then time for a lecture, which typically starts 10 minutes late, which is known as “Berkeley time” (even though students don’t have to rush to the campus anymore). I think the Zoom classroom brings some advantages that the in-person classroom could not. Instead of taking a seat in the crowded classroom, you can make yourself comfortable from anywhere while paying attention to the screen.

A more comfortable environment could potentially introduce a higher concentration of study. And since I don’t have to leave for campus and walk between halls throughout the day, I have more time for my assignments. Now it is only a few seconds' walk to grab some food or go to the bedroom if I need to rest. When studying at home, I always feel energized and excited about everything. After a long day of work, I treat myself to a sumptuous dinner to get ready for the peaceful but always challenging night.

Finding Time Outside of Zoom

Barbeque time at UC Village

Although I am almost always sitting in front of the monitors, there are still some times that I would hang out with friends, just like the old days before the quarantine. One of the most popular forms of entertainment for me right now is hiking. Going outdoors again allows you to not worry about social distancing and being infected.

During the winter break, my friends and I drove up north to the state of Washington and went hiking at different national parks. Walking around the lakes and mountains covered with snow and ice, the cumulative stress through the semester was swept out and I got a total refresh from nature. I had been away from the rest of the world for too long. Plus, I also recently discovered charcoal barbeque.

During this unique period of time, it has been exciting to study with Berkeley Global, which is such a supportive and friendly community.