Checking In With the Falcons on the Other Side of the World

Seohyung Lee, Staff Writer

Peddie has students from all over the world-which  means at a time like this, it is not uncommon to see some students eating breakfast and while others get ready for bed in one Zoom class. So how are things going so far for the Falcons across the globe whose school day starts at sunset?

 International students  face the brunt of this shift, adjusting to this new lifestyle in different time zones.”It was very hard for me to stay up late to take classes in real-time,” said Minjoo Park ‘22. “Staring at the screen until 4 AM, I found myself having a hard time spending the next day on a normal routine.”

While the Peddie community is working towards inclusivity and communication, it seems that there are still some areas that could be improved for students unable to attend in real time. “Watching video recordings limits us from asking questions directly to teachers and which sometimes makes us feel like we are less involved in the classes,” said Jongwoo Park ‘23. Other students echoed similar sentiments. “I cannot attend any of the scientists’ talks I really want to watch because it is way too early for me” said Katie Hui ‘23.

The synchronous classes present difficulties for those who are present as well. “It is hard not seeing my students, sometimes for 2 weeks straight,” said chemistry teacher Karolina Fraczkowska. “During synchronous class, their absence is visible and felt by everyone.”

However, every situation has a silver lining. As pupils on the East Coast have their afternoons free, international students have most of the daytime to themselves. “One of the best things about being in a different timezone is that I get the mornings off to go for a run or read a book,” said Mark Vong ‘23. “I have managed to use this free time to start an initiative with the help of my friends. We have successfully shipped 2076 masks to two hospitals in New York,” said Hui. 

Due to the night classes, their sleep schedules range from midnight to 5 am every day. It is safe to say they have mastered the art of being nocturnal. This presents the question of whether to Zoom or not to Zoom.

When asked if they attended all their classes, all of the students interviewed answered that they weren’t able to every day. “I tried at first, but it was really unhealthy in the long term,” said Hui. “You end up not being able to focus or even sleep.” 

“It must be very hard for these students to attend class,” confirmed Fraczkowska. But when asked if international students achieve the same standard of work, she replied that they absolutely were. 

Interviewees also commented on specific areas of challenge for international students fighting with the clock. “In discussion classes, it would be helpful for us to have a summary of the class instead of watching the class speak for 50 minutes,” Hui said. Having due dates that were set in the Eastern Time Zone was also a complication. “I think having the same due date as East coast students requires us more effort,” said Park. Vong agreed. “One of the biggest difficulties with time zones is that I am regularly behind on assignments, as I am asleep or awake when specific assignments are due,”said Vong.