Chisato Kimura ’22 on Remote Learning: Building Structure Into the Day

Chisato Kimura is a sophomore and an international relations major from Osaka, Japan. She is taking a full course load. She spoke with Sasha Nyary on April 1, 2020.

On what classes are like now

Overall, I think all of the professors are doing the best that they can and making sure that they are as accommodating as possible. All of my professors are either recording their lectures or uploading content material onto Moodle. So it’s kind of like go at your own pace. I understand that and I’m really glad they’re doing it because I think synchronous classes can be really difficult for people with different time zones or with different internet connectivity. For now I’ve been focusing on hitting the ground running with all of my courses.

Spanish is with Elena García Frazier. She’s been really good at communicating with us about the structure of the class going forward. That’s been super helpful. My favorite class is with Chris Pyle in the politics department. A huge part of that class was class discussions. But he’s always available by email or phone calls, which is really, really nice.

My class in international relations research methods is with Suzanne Mueller-Redwood and the way that she has handled the transition has been phenomenal. Every week is laid out, a chart, where she visually lays out the week and specific timelines. It’s very, very helpful to me. My political geography professor, Jacob Chamberlain, has been incredibly flexible and understanding.

A student in isolation. Illustration by Marina Li.

On physical distancing

There’s a huge sense of community among the people who remained and we’re trying to support each other as best as we can. We do have a lot of conversations, whether it’s Facebook posts or even over dinner, sitting at opposite ends of the table. We’re all doing our best to maintain some kind of social norm.

I have friends from high school, and I obviously have friends from here who are all over the country right now. You know everyone’s going through the same thing. So it’s nice to be able to hop on a call or FaceTime each other and work through it. Support each other. That’s very, very reassuring.

Chisato Kimura room on campus in 2020.

On an average day

Transitioning to remote classes has been huge. I’ve learned that I do better when there’s structure — “this is when you have to show up to class and lessons.” So I try to wake up around nine or 10. I do classwork or internship applications for about two hours until about 11:30. Then I go to lunch. The Dining Commons are open from 11:30 to 1:30 for lunch but it’s grab and go and we take it into Blanchard Hall to eat. All of the professional staff are doing the best that they can, and they’re super nice to us there. They try to be as kind as possible. The food is definitely good and if they get good feedback on something, they’re much more likely to make it again. After lunch I’ll go back to doing classwork until I hit a wall. Sometimes I take a nap. Sometimes I’ll watch Netflix.

I usually try to squeeze in a workout at some point during the day. I’m on the tennis team and I’ve found that keeping active and fit makes me happier. I usually go for runs on campus. Recently I’ve gotten into YouTube dance workouts, which are very weird but fun. You have to get creative.

I work in the Dining Commons and I’m grateful for the job. They’ve provided me with masks and hazard pay and have ensured that I have minimal contact. I’m also volunteering on a campaign in Kentucky, so I work remotely on that. I am loosely involved in several student orgs, like the Model UN and College Democrats. A lot of orgs have been on hiatus while everyone scrambles to get ready for classes. It’s a pretty full schedule but I like keeping myself busy, so it works out.

I brought up some concerns that I had, a few issues I was seeing, to Marcella [Marcella Runell Hall is vice president for student life and dean of students] and the staff in residential life and they were really helpful. Everyone I’ve talked to has been incredibly receptive.

Chisato Kimura on campus