It's been a week since classes have started here at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. Even though my classes are fully online, I am living in on-campus housing. Even while job hunting for months before moving back to Hawai'i, I am still unemployed and struggling to stretch out my savings to live here. Even with rules and guidelines in place to social distance and whatnot, cases are still spiking on the island and on campus.
Originally, I had 2 in-person classes, 1 hybrid, and 3 online.
The day I moved into my on-campus apartment (the Sunday before classes started), they switched all my classes to be fully online. I want to make one thing clear: I would not have invested time and money into coming here and living here if my classes were fully online in the first place. The choice to switch to a different class wasn't possible for me since all of my classes are graduation requirements or requirements for my major/pre-law program. It's not like all these students are taking 6 electives and can switch out willy-nilly.
I started classes and realized there are so many ways classes can be delivered online.
I have considered dropping a couple of classes because the different deliveries just add to the stress of how professors want to run the class, which essentially affects my grade. Some classes have a specific time and day to meet on Zoom, but it will either have the same Zoom link or there will always be a different Zoom link. Some classes have decided you don't need to meet every day, and half the time it will be the previous option of meeting at specific dates and times while the rest you watch the pre-recorded lectures on your time before the scheduled zoom classes. Some classes are fully online, with either assignments just being sent to you and you need to finish them by the end of the week, or you watch the pre-recorded lectures and you never actually meet your professor or meet your classmates. I'm not frustrated that classes are online, I'm frustrated that there are so many different ways to deliver an online class. The university didn't put regulations on how you can deliver and how you can't deliver a class.
I am a college student who is 100% dependent on financial aid.
A combination of student loans and small grants allow me to take classes to earn my degree. This money doesn't cover living expenses like groceries. Looking for a job has been one of the hardest things to do. On-campus and off-campus jobs required me to be on the island, even if they weren't open, to conduct a phone interview. I had been contacted by Fabletics prior to them reopening, and once I told them I wasn't on the island yet, they became uninterested. I guess I can understand because relying on someone who isn't even in the same perimeter as you to be at work makes sense, but the stores weren't opening until I did come back. With on-campus jobs, the system that the University of Hawai'i uses is terrible. It doesn't update once a job has been fulfilled, so I'm wasting my time and other people's time emailing them my resume and asking about the job posting that they have no knowledge about. On top of that, what's the point of having a system where the job listings are, but not applying on there? That creates the problem just said that I, or any other student, wouldn't know if the job position has been filled.
Back in March/April I was offered a dorm space and was already was given a room assignment.
I was waiting on my contract to sign. Housing services sent me an email saying that my housing offer was been retracted, and about ten minutes later I received the school-wide email that stated not all students would receive housing. This put a lot of worry, stress, and pressure on my shoulders because, as I said before, I still had two classes in-person and one class that was hybrid. I had secured off-campus housing, but it was about a 30-minute drive from campus. Not having a car, let alone a license, was a problem I would have to figure out later. About two weeks prior to me flying back to Hawai'i, I was told that housing services assigned me housing to the on-campus apartments. I accepted the offer because, again, I had two in-person classes and one hybrid class.
Not even a full week living here in the apartments, we were evacuated outside and weren't allowed back in for more than five hours because someone's room had fully flooded.
When I say flooded, I mean FLOODED. When we were all outside and looking at the building, you could see the water leaving the room on one of the tops floors because the water just wouldn't stop. Not only was that room damaged, but the rooms below them were also told they had damage. There was one girl screaming on the phone to her parents about all her stuff. Which in all honesty, was a valid response considering we all had to buy new stuff for our rooms and apartments, and this happened on week one. I am lucky enough to be on the second floor and on the other side of the building, but the university stuck me and a bunch of other students, who weren't supposed to be in these apartments in the first place, into these apartments. Now we are dealing with these unexpected problems, like having a flooded room or not being allowed inside our apartment for half a day's worth of work.
The number of positive COVID-19 cases on campus may be lower than other schools, but the fact that Hawai'i issued ANOTHER stay-at-home order, and said that it won't affect the school, is pretty ridiculous.
As if bringing all these students from different parts of the country, or even different parts of the world, and not requiring them to be tested for COVID-19 prior to coming to campus, wouldn't add a spike in cases. I know the school realized they messed up when they sent two emails informing the student body that there are students who broke social distancing rules, under judicial review, and the same will happen to other students who are caught. Just admit you messed up and require regular testing of students, like how other schools are doing. For example, Vanderbilt University. Or you know, that $84 million the school is spending on COVID-19 research, spend a little on preventing cases of COVID-19.
The overall rating for week one: 2/10. Only a 2 because I have avoided people, including anyone who works for the school, like the plague. You're on your own on-campus or you threaten your health otherwise.