Student changes during Covid Times- By Bonnie Lyu, China

How College Students in China and the USA are adapting to studying on line, from home.


The subject of my fieldwork is the impact of COVID-19 on college students. I interviewed 7 people in total. These people are Americans, Chinese students studying in the United States, Chinese students studying in South Korea, and Chinese students studying in China. They all have different identities, such as children, dads, moms, girlfriends, but they share a common identity, which is college students. During COVID time, most people have adopted new habits. For example, Minbo Wang told me that he could already stay at home for a week without going out. In the past, he had to go out every day; otherwise, he will lose sleep at night.

In the beginning, some people felt that working at home was a difficult thing. After they solved these difficulties, now they feel that working at home is acceptable because it can save them some time, you can do what you like. They have effectively changed their habits. For example, Qi used to get up one hour in advance every day to go to school, but now she can sleep for an extra hour in the morning. She likes online courses very much now.

From my interview with Qi's face time, I feel that COVID has made her helpless in several areas. For example, she cannot complete her project. Her project is to make a model. There are many textures on this model, but because she can only use the zoom class, she can't fully show the texture to the teacher. There are also some changes in her appearance because she doesn't need to go out, so she doesn't dress herself up, so she sometimes has messy hair. And she dyed her hair a new color (gray). Her voice is clear, and her background is quiet.

In an interview with Xiaojing Yang, she said her biggest challenge was not being able to complete all her assignments in the library. Before COVID-19 happened, all her homework was done in the library. The library will give her a sense of urgency. At home, she didn't feel the urgency, she just wanted to rest, but now she couldn't go to school, so this became her biggest challenge. Later, Xiaojing fully adapted to this habit. Now she can do her homework at home. She said that COVID-19 changed her way of writing assignments and that she can also completely leave the library in the future.

There is also Sherry, who used to have no reading habit, but because of COVID time, she has been staying at home every day to read, so COVID-19 has made her a habit of reading every day. This reflects what Bourdieu said that people living in different fields will have different habits.

Through my interviews, I also learned that Chinese students and American students have different ideas about graduation. I interviewed students who study in China; COVID-19 will not affect the graduation time of all of them. When they are full of challenges to complete the project, they will think of many ways to complete it, to prevent them from failing to graduate or postpone graduation. Chinese students are resistant to postponing graduation. Most people think that postponing graduation is a bad thing for them. However, for some Chinese students study in the United States, some people will choose to suspend school for a postponement because they cannot best complete their projects. They also don't think it is a bad thing to postpone graduation. This is the different national environment and cultural backgrounds have produced their different ideas.