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EDITORIAL: The Daily Targum reflects on this semester like no other

The editors of The Daily Targum have explained their thoughts and insights about digital learning. Here they are. – Photo by Pixabay

This has been a wild, unprecedented semester. The editors of The Daily Targum, who have dealt with online education just like you, decided to input their thoughts on the experience in our last editorial for this fall.

Andreana Loukidis, editor-in-chief: “Moments of quiet are a privilege and easy to ignore, especially in a pandemic-induced quarantine. This year I have learned to hold on to whatever minute of peace I can get for as long as possible, and more often than not, that minute is just a glass of water in the morning. With that said there are valid reasons to feel angry, hopeless, frustrated or lost right now, no matter who you are. The only suggestion I have is to drink some water when you wake up, take a few deep breaths and get to work.”

Michelle Fan, managing editor: “I have learned just how much I push myself and how much I am capable of, even when I am running on fumes. But I have also seen firsthand just how unwilling institutions are to make necessary adjustments and changes to accommodate people who are vulnerable, who are experiencing unimaginable loss and who are all also running on fumes. I learned that we all need to be looking out for each other because there is so much that still needs to change about the way our society functions — and while these issues certainly did not start with the pandemic, they are impossible to ignore now.”

Hayley Slusser, news editor: “Not being physically at college made me think more critically about the education system. College is really a lifeline for young people, not just due to the opportunities that an education provides, but for basic needs like housing or health services as well as a sense of community. Although some services have been modified in the wake of COVID-19, most are inaccessible, making students feel disconnected and left behind. We are all paying a lot of money for a subpar experience.”

Maddie McGay, associate news editor: “After having to spend so much more of my time physically isolated from others, I have learned that social interaction and face-to-face connections are things that we take for granted. While I have typically preferred spending more time on my own, I have come to realize that just being in the presence of others — whether we know them personally or they are just strangers in the same place at the same time  — is vital to the human experience.”

Josh Valdez, sports editor: “This past semester, I learned how important it is to appreciate the little things. I used to take certain things for granted, like hitting the bar with the boys on Friday night or going to the Rutgers Athletic Center for a basketball game. Now that I will be back on campus next semester, I will appreciate every single moment I have with my friends, even if campus life will still be much different from normal. Sometimes you do not truly appreciate what you have until it is taken from you.”

Ray Lewis, associate sports editor: “I have learned COVID-19 is a disruptive disease — I mean, it impacted my life. I have changed. I do not enjoy remote learning. Pointing out a positive, MLB is still enjoyable to follow even with no fans in attendance. I am looking forward to the Rutgers basketball teams’ seasons as well. COVID-19 cannot disrupt everything.”

Eu-Jin Pak, copy editor: “Since most interactions were held online, I had to communicate not only through words but also by reading body language and facial expressions. It made me realize that there were other means of communication that I otherwise neglected and failed to take into consideration before the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Now I consider all movements and expressions when I am talking to someone, not just their speech.”

Chloe Tai, associate copy editor: “When the end of the world looks suddenly imminent, a lot of things come into focus. For me, I realized I wanted to waste less time and really go for the career and life that would make me happy. I would rather spend my days writing, hanging out with family and getting into spirited debates over sitcoms than worry that I am not going to make huge amounts of money upon graduation. If what makes you happy is a life with unique challenges, then I say go for it. I sure am trying to.”

Kelly Carmack, photo editor: “I have learned that we rely on physical social interaction for so many things, and when that aspect gets taken away to being socially distanced and remote, it really hinders our ability to work well and form genuine connections with other people. While technology allows us to continue learning and working remotely, it is still obviously very different. I definitely miss the social aspect of college, talking with classmates during breaks, discussing project ideas and collaborating with each other.”

Tarana Parekh, video editor: “This past year I learned a lot about myself and finding ways to make the best out of a horrible situation. Quarantine was a break from the entire world and, during that time I was able to reflect on the aspects of life that I was not satisfied with and make the necessary changes to be a happier person. It made me realize the importance of spending time alone and confronting issues head-on, rather than actively avoiding it with day to day activities.”

Ameena Qobrtay, features editor: “I love school. I love staying after class and I love making friends by asking for notes. In Zoom school, I found that I was able to make friends in a different way: talking to my peers on GroupMe, asking for their numbers, texting them, etc. I learned that human connection will happen no matter what, and those are the type of things that will make heavy burdens so much easier.”

Eli Horowitz, associate video editor: “The past few semesters have really made me think about mental health and how to stay sane when human interaction is mostly confined to just an online environment. I have learned how important it is to take a break from schoolwork every once in a while, even if it means handing in some assignments late. Finding that one activity to de-stress, whether it be writing, listening to music or watching a movie, has really helped as a way to relax and take my mind off of this frightening reality we are currently living in."

There you have it. Hopefully, you can relate to the thoughts and reflections of our talented editorial staff — we all wish you a pleasant winter break and a wonderful new year. Because we certainly all need that right now.

The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 152nd editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.


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